We have all seen it.
Every week there seems to be a different cause of autism reported in the media.
I have heard it all over the years since autism came in to our lives:- sunlight, tuna fish, pesticides, air freshener, anxiety in mothers, household cleaning products, pollution, mothers not taking vitamins and more recently smart meters.
When will it end?
Reports like this are beyond damaging and here’s why:-
When we received Isla’s autism diagnosis I took it very badly. All of the questions during assessments seemed to be aimed at me and my health before, during and after my pregnancy. I was already clinging on for dear life and Isla’s diagnosis tipped me over the edge. I doubted my abilities as a mother, I doubted my intuition and I questioned everything. I wanted answers to questions when there were no answers available.
I blamed myself.
In my mind I must have caused Isla’s autism. It had to be something I’d done or hadn’t done, maybe I hadn’t looked after myself properly during pregnancy, maybe I hadn’t exercised, maybe I hadn’t eaten the right food, maybe it was Isla’s birth and of course I must have been to blame for that, maybe it was after her birth, maybe I hadn’t talked to her enough or played with her enough, maybe my anxiety had rubbed off on her, maybe I had wrapped her in too many blankets at night, maybe …..
If only …..
Over and over and over.
A never ending cycle.
During that time I did something I would advise people to never do, I turned to the internet to find my answers.
I was horrified.
At a time in my life when I was feeling my most vulnerable, a time I doubted myself completely, a time we were completely thrown in to the unknown, confused and bewildered, the internet told me that autism was caused by many different things and most of them laid blame with me.
It was my fault.
I was right.
I am Isla’s mum and I am supposed to protect her and I hadn’t.
I had failed her.
I had failed my whole family.
That was the tipping point.
Consumed by guilt that I was to blame and my husband and kids deserved better, I literally fell in to a pit of despair. Life felt dark, and sad, so very, very sad.
And it felt like that for a good while.
If we had been properly informed about every little thing during her assessments then maybe I wouldn’t have felt so lost.
Had we have received more than a leaflet when Isla was diagnosed with autism then maybe I wouldn’t have turned to the internet for answers.
If we had received some support in the weeks, and months after Isla’s diagnosis then maybe I wouldn’t have found it so hard.
If somebody had told me I wasn’t to blame and not asked me 500 questions in an hour, questions that made me feel like I was being interrogated and had done something wrong then maybe I wouldn’t have felt like I had failed before I had even started.
I hadn’t failed…..
Reports like the above have failed, professionals have failed, services have failed – failed children and adults with autism and their loved ones and care givers.
Only with autism have I seen children and adults get diagnosed and left to deal with that life changing news themselves.
Only with autism have I seen so many theories published as ‘possible causes’, so many varied things that ‘could’ have caused autism, so much published without huge amounts of tangible research, research over years that is backed up and credible.
Only with autism.
All it does is imply autism needs a cure and can be cured.
All it does is cause more confusion.
All it does is serve to blame.
All it does is prove so little is understood about autism.
All it does is show funding is non existent.
All it shows is that the little research that is being done isn’t focussed on the right area – brain development, genetics and neurology.
All it does is imply autism is something to be feared.
All it shows is ignorance.
All it does is make people believe anything and everything causes autism.
All it does is make people with autism question their neurodiversity.
All it does is makes parents feel helpless, confused and guilty.
All it does is scaremonger.
All it does is cause uncertainty.
All it does is prove that autism is so complex that nobody has a clue.
So what is the point? What is the point in adding fuel to the fire? Why publish such rubbish when its only purpose is to scaremonger and hurt people? People who are already hurting, exhausted, exasperated and adjusting…
There is no point…………