Autism is a neurological developmental disorder that impacts social skills, communication, and behavior problems. A child with Autism may have difficulty making eye contact, may not speak, or may engage in repetitive behaviors.
While autism spectrum disorder can be a serious & debilitating condition, some parents have expressed concern that the diagnosis is being used as a “free pass” for troubling behavior. This follows a similar pattern to other mental health diagnoses, such as ADHD, which some parents feel are being used to explain away bad behavior.
Meet Renee white, a 45-year-old mum from Altrincham. Renee has a 23-year-old son, Aidan, who was diagnosed with Autism when he was two. While she says that the diagnosis has been “a godsend” in understanding and explaining her son’s behavior, she also says Autism is being used as an excuse for bad behavior more often than it should be.
She says she is tired of people using Autism to get out of trouble with the law. Every month, there is a news story of someone with Autism getting out of trouble by using their diagnosis.
Renee believes that people often use Autism as an “easy way out” and that it reflects unfairly on those living with the condition. She adds that a week can’t pass without some story in the media about somebody using Autism as an excuse for defense in court.
According to Renee, it’s likely that people will start viewing Autism with a criminal behavior mindset, & people on the spectrum are entirely not aggressive or criminals. She explains that people with Autism can tell right from wrong, and It’s just that they may not have the same understanding of social cues and expectations.
This lack of social understanding can often lead to problems in communication and behavior, such as difficulty with turn-taking in conversation or problems with personal space.
Aidan, who is 23 and was diagnosed with Autism aged two, has attended special needs schools all his life and currently studies at college. He leads a reasonably normal and independent life but still requires some support from his parents.
Renee says her son may look like any other neurotypical 23-year-old, but he has a fundamental language and social skills development delay. He cannot speak in whole sentences & has trouble reading social situations.
“People think Individuals with Autism don’t have control of themselves when actually they are, and they can do that 99 percent of the time.”
From her perspective, people who use Autism as a defense in court are “Insulting and break her heart” because people unaware of Autism might be driven to think that all people with Autism are like that.
She wants people to know that people with Autism can control their actions and do that 99 percent of the time; they are in control; it’s only in specific situations when they can’t.
What do you think? Is Autism being used as a “free pass” for bad behavior? Or is this a case of people not fully understanding the condition? Let us know in the comments!