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Autism – Or A Lack Of Discipline?

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naomi24 | 13:29 Mon 10th Jun 2019 | Body & Soul
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So many children are diagnosed as autistic now, but are they really all autistic?

A friend has two children age seven and four. The seven year old started school at four and was fine for a year. Come age five he refused to go and consequently stayed home for the next two years, having regular ‘melt downs’ whenever he was asked to do something he didn’t want to do. The NHS found nothing wrong with him, the original school spotted nothing, but the parents, both professional people very involved in fighting for all sorts of ‘rights’, convinced he is autistic, spent a considerable amount of money to have him diagnosed privately and fought the education department tooth and nail to have him allocated a place in a special school. They eventually got what they wanted and he went to school for a while but now again refuses.

The four year old has now begun to behave similarly, and again the parents are convinced that she too is autistic - along with a couple of badly behaved young cousins - and one or two adults of their acquaintance who happen to choose their company carefully rather than embrace the dubious pleasures of making friends with all and sundry. It seems that everyone around them is ‘autistic’.

I have my doubts. Is this a ‘fashion’ thing? I can’t help thinking that the four year old has learned this behaviour from her older brother. He gets away with it and now so does she. These children are never disciplined in any way. They are never told they’re wrong and they are never told ‘No’. They want sweets, they get sweets, and they cannot be told, for example, to put their coats on. It has to be broached as a ‘suggestion’. ‘Shall we put our coats on?’ Anything else results in a ‘melt down’. It seems to me that the children are making the rules and, because the parents are intent on preventing ‘melt downs’ and treating the 'condition' with understanding, the children have no borders and hence, no guidance.

Your thoughts?

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As someone who is on the "Autism Spectrum" but was not diagnosed until I was in my late 20s, I do feel that it is a catch-all phrase for parents with naughty children. I find that it is similar to ADHD which is another one that gets mentioned a lot. If your child doesnt behave itself, you as a parent need to control them. I appreciate that dealing with children who...
16:57 Mon 10th Jun 2019
Well I'm not a Dr but I believe there is a difference between autisim and badly behaved
It is one of those new conditions which was not available when I was a child.
Doesn't mean it didn't exist though sparklykid
Having three members of my family who deal, or have dealt directly with autistic children, this does sound very much like parents who lack basic parenting skills, and want to shift the responsibility for their lack of said skills into a 'condition' which they can blame.

I know enough about autism to know that it is a diagnoseable condition - genuinely autistic children display a set of behaviours which are common, and children of this age lack the sophistication and awareness to be able to mimic these behaviours in order to comply with their parents' assumptions.

Ironically any parent with an autistic child will confirm that behavioural boundaries need to be tighter and more righteously enforced to ensure proper behaviour.

Sadly, a trend in modern parenting is for parents to want to be 'friends' with their children - hence the 'suggestions' rather than the child being told what is happening - a situation which children understand, and which gives them security.

I, not an educator myself, but married to one, and having two more as my children, have coined a phrase which i think appropriate - All children are as naughty as they are allowed to be.

It is the nature of a child to push boundaries, and it is the responsibility of a parent to put those boundaries in place, and enforce them consistently and fairly.

That is now well-behaved children learn to co-exist with others as they grow, and in wider society as adults.

Children who grow up not knowing what 'no' means have a tough time in the world, where rules are enforced - something which has been alien to them, until they learn the hard way.
SK - // It is one of those new conditions which was not available when I was a child. //

Understanding of mental health is something that has increased considerably, even in the last thirty years.

Autism was not recognised for what it is, but was still around.

Oops - // more righteously enforced to ensure proper behaviour. //

Please read 'rigorously' - I missed the auto-correct.
A-H gives a very good answer to what I consider to be a rather complex condition which in my opinion is overdiagnosed.
I also have sympathy with the OPer and he opinion on the subject.
My knowledge of Mental Disorders is limited and hence my reply may well be too simplistic.
Autism exists.
There are no objective tests for Autism which relies on description and acceptance of certain situations, responses and behavioral patterns, i.e one relies as a Dr on what one is told and if the criteria are there, then the diagnosis is made.
However, if the complete package of symptoms are not there, then it is often seen that the diagnostic criteria may be widened into what is no known as the "Autistic Spectrum" which in my opinion flies in the face of science and is nonsense.
Don't blame the Drs for this, as it is used to get pushy parents off their backs and to stick a label on the children to explain what clearly is.....naughtiness and lack of discipline.
I have no qualifications in Child Psychiatry OR Psychology.
Autism is something that can be diagnosed. Bad behaviour is just that.
Sqad - // However, if the complete package of symptoms are not there, then it is often seen that the diagnostic criteria may be widened into what is no known as the "Autistic Spectrum" which in my opinion flies in the face of science and is nonsense. //

As I understand it, the term Autistic Spectrum' is used to describe children ho exhibit some behavioural signs which may be linked to a strain of autism, while not exhibiting the classic and identifiable indicators of the condition.

I believe it is based in sound diagnostic approaches, but obviously I am not an expert.
I think the OP and A-H's and Sqad's comments are sound observations/comments. I have often remarked that, given the large numbers/percentage of "diagnoses" being made, my (older) generation is handicapped as we were never so fortunate as to be "diagnosed". This is not in any way to mock genuine cases.
I have been waiting 2 1/2 years for a diagnosis for my young son.

He definitely has many autistic traits.I've been involved in many lengthy appointments and he has been observed by professionals at his school and at play.

I will finally find out a diagnosis next week.There has been a delay because there is a learning disability from results in other tests and they didn't want to apply a label too early in case it was wrong.

It's been a long haul and his behaviour presents a lot of challenges.

One of the main ones is how to make his older sister realise that he cannot help the way he is as there are many times when she inflames a situation.
My younger half brother is on the Autistic Spectrum and he was very different as a child to other kids his age. He's very clever, he always was, he was perfectly able to speak when he was little but didn't like to very much so I spoke for him often. He would obsess about things, in his case numbers and gears and cogs particularly. He could get overwhelmed in very noisy or clamorous places and he could have melt downs but they were very different to a kid misbehaving.
We were as a matter of interest never forced or told to wear coats either. Mum or dad would say 'It's cold or wet you'll need a coat' and if we played up or weren't co-operative they'd say 'Fine be cold or wet then' - and if it was, we were, lol and thus we learned to take heed of 'suggestions'. 'Cause and effect' as my Dad called it, you could do more or less anything but understand that there will be an effect from your actions.
Some of what you're mentioning without doubt does sound like shabby parenting tbh but since none of us are privvy to the child's diagnosis it's impossible to tell, but it's interesting that they couldn't get an NHS diagnosis.
It sounds like they didn't get the answer they wanted, so paid for the answer they wanted.
A-H...no, I am not an expert either, but as i mentioned there are no objective tests e.g..blood tests X-Ray MRI pictures that are diagnostic of Autism.
as for the " Autistic Spectrum" it seems to me that the answer is;
"If you can't score enough goals, then widen the goalposts."
As someone who is on the "Autism Spectrum" but was not diagnosed until I was in my late 20s, I do feel that it is a catch-all phrase for parents with naughty children. I find that it is similar to ADHD which is another one that gets mentioned a lot. If your child doesnt behave itself, you as a parent need to control them. I appreciate that dealing with children who have mental health issues can be difficult but giving them more boundaries works better than less. It helps give them structure and helps them learn to live together with others in a meaningful way. If you let them run wild now, they will never be able to contribute to society properly because you teach them that throwing a tantrum is the way to get what you want. This rarely works as an adult.
//they will never be able to contribute to society properly because you teach them that throwing a tantrum is the way to get what you want. This rarely works as an adult. //

doesn't stop the unprincipled trying though.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-48580310
What do your friends say when you suggest these things to them?
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Bagpuss, they are pretty much my thoughts. I do think we have a tendency to excuse poor behaviour by sticking labels on children and of course that relieves parents of their responsibilities too.

JF85, all I’ve said is that, regardless of the problem, if there is one, for their own sakes, children need to be taught right from wrong.
I was lucky, in that although my Dad didnt know that I was Autistic, he knew that I was different from my brother and he figured out that a solid structured life was what I needed to keep me grounded. So he provided that with detailed timetables and schedules when possible. He had techniques to cope with me in public if he saw that I was not coping with a particular situation with noise or people. He never let me make a scene or cause an issue for people around us.
The result of that is that, although I still suffer from panic attacks and anxiety, I know how to cope with them as an adult because I was taught how to as a child.
//He had techniques to cope with me in public if he saw that I was not coping with a particular situation//

It's very difficult at times in my case as techniques that work for some don't with many others.

I went on a recent autism course and it was very interesting to learn of other people's experiences.

I find myself facing regular new challenges in dealing with certain situations and trying different things.

Some,I've yet to find a workable solution :-(

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