Friday, December 3, 2010

Autism is Not a Fashion Accessory

A few of the parents I meet in the course of a special education referral want their child to qualify for services as autistic. I've heard them discussing all the celebrities who have autistic children, and they seem to be excited about the possibility of a similar diagnosis. If it turns out that a child does not have autism, parents will sometimes argue with the school. Some parents will even take their child to doctor after doctor and spend lots of money just looking for one who will say the "A-word".

To these parents, I would really like to say, in as nice a way as I can, to just...stop it. (I actually would like to say something else, but I do like to have a paycheck.)

Autism is not cool, even if rock stars and actresses are on television talking about it. Autism is difficult. Autism is scary. The parents that I know who have children with autism do not feel "cool". They feel helpless a lot of the time as they struggle to help their child. They cry a lot. Autism, for these parents, is not glamorous; it is exhausting, difficult work that sometimes yields only tiny gains. Yet these parents struggle on because they love their children, not because they want to be 'cool'.

Please give those parents of autistic children the respect they deserve by not acting like their child is some sort of fashion accessory that they can take on and off like a watch. They can't, even if some of them wanted to.


  1. I am speechless! Why would people do this? Not only are they wasting valuable times of Drs who could be diagnosing children who really do have problems but it is all just so..........I don't know, I am speechless!!!!

  2. This makes me shudder, for so many reasons. Erg.

  3. What kind of creep would do this? The Dr. mentioned the "A-word" to us our last Dr.s visit and I've been in pieces ever since. It's not glamorous, it's scary.
    I'm scared for his future, I'm scared about doing the right or the wrong thing, I'm just plain scared. Why anyone would want this, is just beyond me!

  4. While I've gotten somewhat immune to parents wanting their child to be disabled so they can collect a check, I've never heard anyone who knows anything at all about autism call it "cool". It's just plain ignorance, I guess. People know just enough to be scary, but not enough to made good decisions.

  5. Wow. I don't think I would search for a nice way to tell these misguided parents to stop. A nice sharp punch in the throat would seem more appropriate. What are these people thinking?

    I have an autistic son and I don't feel like Dan Marino or Rodney Peete.

  6. "Autism is Not a Fashion Accessory" is a powerful reminder that awareness should not be exploited, much like the genuine craftsmanship of a quilted leather jacket mens. This article highlights the importance of respecting and understanding autism, rather than using it for trends. It's a message worth sharing and embracing.


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