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Dealing with the people who 'Don't believe in Autism'

6 replies

Imonlyhereforthehandwringing · 25/02/2022 08:18

Unfortunately the words of a relative.

Awaiting outcome of Autism assessment for eldest DC. Made the mistake of mentioning it to my parents. Lots of eye rolling, mentioning of labelling children these days, nothing wrong with them, that's all normal behaviour etc. Argh!

It's a hard conversation to have because I've suspected for a long time that there is a history of undiagnosed mental health conditions and SEN in my family. Mum has a lot of Autistic traits and has OCD type rituals (counting while doing things, washing hands constantly, lights on and off etc). Grandmother was similar, as are my siblings. There's a history of eating disorders, anxiety and 'highly strung' distant relatives. I have some traits too. As an outsider, DH says its blatant DC is like a lot of my family.

Its been hard enough going through this process, accepting that DC may have Autism and working with them to make sure they don't see this as something negative. Now I feel like I'm back at square one with my family. For full disclosure, there is also a history of me being a bit of a black sheep within my family and my emotional needs being minimised/ignored but that's another thread entirely.

Does anyone have any advice on how to navigate this? DC is old enough to understand and talk about these things and my fear is that my parents will also minimise their needs because they don't believe in it.

OP posts:
MagratLancre · 26/02/2022 10:09

Don't get drawn into it. Ignore the statements. Then demonstrate the strategies you use with DC when you are with them.
My DF especially, and also DM, had a hard time coming to term with DS' diagnostic process, v same as you describe. In time, they are starting to see what I mean, and starting to recognise traits in themselves. E.g. maybe we're not just shy stubborn people etc. I certainly think I'm pda asd in retrospect, makes a lot of sense to me. Just don't push it with them and focus on the strategies to use rather than the diagnosis.

MagratLancre · 26/02/2022 10:10

Also seeing some spectacular meltdowns from DS helped them to see his challenges. Now they know much more how to respond etc.

Branleuse · 26/02/2022 10:12

Depends on the relative, but i would avoid

MyCatIsCalledPotato · 26/02/2022 10:22

I'd not bring it into conversation.
I have a relative who doesn't believe my Ds has autism and adhd, it's simply 'bad behaviour'. I don't bring up the conversation but if they do I leave/hang up immediately.
I've tried explaining the science and they still don't believe. I've asked if they can explain certain behaviours my Ds does and they put it down to ds's choice - because it's completely normal for a 5 year old to choose to self harm Hmm
Some people are ignorant and it's as simple as that

NinaManiana · 01/03/2022 20:04

No advice but empathy! Your family sound just like mine and because that’s how they are they think it’s normal 😂

To be fair to my family, I have lent them some books (how to raise a happy autistic child was helpful) and they have engaged and been willing to be educated.

With others my responses have ranged from ‘so i guess his awful behaviour is because he’s just a terrible person then?’ (Shuts them up) to quite harshly taking one family member down about our family history of terrible mental health and how i don’t think saying that’s just ‘normal’ is going to get the best outcome for this next generation.

I imagine the problem is more common than you think x

BananaPlants · 03/03/2022 16:43

My parents are similar. However, they did watch the Paddy Mcguiness programme and seemed to get an awful lot from that, my dad was saying “everyone should watch it!” and my DM was interested in the idea of masking.

Their new found understanding didn’t last very long, but we had a day or two where they almost seemed to get it.

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