Something That Upsets Me: When One Autism Parent Tells Another Autism Parent “How It Is”

Now don’t get me wrong here, I’m not talking about people offering support or advice, I mean the ones who outright tell you that you have to put your child on a diet, they tell you that vaccines are what caused your child’s Autism, they tell you that you have to do what they’re doing and they tell you that they are right….  which obviously implies that… you are wrong.

Now, I have my opinions on some things such as the vaccine debate, but I never force that on anyone. I have my opinions on the diet, as the gluten free portion really helps my son but none of the rest of the diets do. We all have opinions! There’s nothing wrong with that.

But please stop trying to tell me or anyone else what you ‘know’ (when what you mean is ‘think’) is true.

First of all, there is no definitive answer to the vaccine debate, no matter how certain you are, the diet does help some, but not all and every single therapy and drug out there that helps one child also does not help another.

Autism is a trial of hit or miss, a life time of “try everything” where you quickly become a researcher, doctor and psychologist all in one despite the fact that all of your degrees are found through hear-say from other parents, the doctors at your family clinic and Google.

Most recently, which is what set this post off, a woman replied to another parent’s question on what to do, with one word: “DIET” and went on about it and included how [she believed] her children were harmed by antibiotics or vaccines, including a little disclaimer: “Pretty sure everyone else’s avenue there is similar (vaccines OR antibiotics).”

This really quite upset me, and I was so tempted to lash out in response but instead, I did reply but simply stated that no.. not everyone is similar.

The fact is, not every parent believes that their child was harmed due to antibiotics nor vaccines. So please, do not speak on my behalf.

While I sat there, tempted to hit the submit button with all my anger and frustrations typed out in a rather emotionally charged response, I thought about why it angered me.

I think that I just come to expect more from people dealing with Autism. It’s true! Think about it, Autism is a spectrum disorder, that means that no two cases are identical. It also means that symptoms, causes and treatments can be and mostly likely are different for most Autistics.

It’s the one thing that all scientists, doctors and hopefully even parents can agree on… my child with Autism is simply not the same as your child with Autism.

So I just sort of expect that other parents would simply speak to each accordingly… that they’d share THEIR experiences and what works with them but never presume to tell anyone it’s what they have to do… that they’d share what THEY think caused it but never presume to tell someone else that it’s their problem too.

It angers me, it really does. I write this blog to share my experiences with my son so that hopefully you see something that inspires you or makes you think “hey, maybe we could try that!” Maybe it’ll help you and your child, maybe not. But I’d never write something saying that you must do what I did or think what I think.

I’m sorry that this isn’t your typical, feel good, type of post from me but I feel I had to let it out, otherwise there would be twitter and/or facebook replies that would start a whole mess of arguments that really didn’t pertain to the situation or help in any way.

So feel free to reply to me here, if you disagree or wish to share. That way we can keep valid questions/support free of needless digression.

About Stuart Duncan

My name is Stuart Duncan, creator of My oldest son (Cameron) has Autism while my younger son (Tyler) does not. I am a work from home web developer with a background in radio. I do my very best to stay educated and do what ever is necessary to ensure my children have the tools they need to thrive. I share my stories and experiences in an effort to further grow and strengthen the online Autism community and to promote Autism Understanding and Acceptance.

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2 Responses to Something That Upsets Me: When One Autism Parent Tells Another Autism Parent “How It Is”

  1. Kim July 3, 2010 at 9:40 am #

    I couldn’t agree more on this subject. A child with autism like non-autistic children are very different therefore require different care. For example, a very close friend of mine has an autistic son who is 4 and I have an autistic son who is approaching 4 and we have very different views and methods. They never vaccinated their son as they heard the rumours of links between autism and MMR etc so they made the decision not too whereas we did. They have also decided to put their son into a special education school whereas we have decided to put our son into mainstream education. Although our decisions for our children are completely different we encourage, reassure and share our experiences as good, caring friends do and I hope ours support each other in the same way. I could blame many things as the cause of my sons autism, he stopped breathing at 5 weeks old and was pumped full of antibiotics, he had all his vaccinations and it turns out he is very seriously intolerant to gluten.. Because I will never know the cause of it I have accepted this is who he is and we celebrate all his wonderful achievements. He is beautiful and completes our family along with his non-autistic twin brother. Keep sharing your stories because they offer so much support to us all xx

  2. Tammy July 3, 2010 at 10:00 am #


    I fully support this post. Has that parent heard the saying, “if you’ve met/known one child with autism, you’ve met/known one child with autism”? Of course, that speaks to the unique needs & strengths of each person with autism.

    Maybe, this post will enlighten folks that we get enough grief from uninformed people that we don’t need any from those who should be in our camp, so to speak. It’s hard enough, let’s support each other. OK?


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