I get all that and it is par for the course for an autism parent. What I have a hard time understanding are people who are utterly ignorant of what autism is and yet seem to feel the need to share their ignorance with the world.
Take for example a comment that I saw earlier today on a story about Sharron Angle. Some person calling themselves "behyndblueeyes" took the time to write something so absurd that I can't even begin to describe it, you have to read it for yourself.
I can't seem to find a way to get a direct link to the comment, but the time on the comment is 9/27/2010 2:04:17 PM so if you scroll through the comments, you should be able to find it.
Here is the text of the comment -
It is my understanding that some parents of autistic children are exploiting the system. They coach their children to behave as mentally challenged when they visit a doctor. Many of whose children have no such handicap, however these parents will seek out a doctor that will make a claim of such a handicap. As a result, parents of these so called "autistic children" receive an extra $500 monthly payment given to them by the taxpayer to assist in their child's needs. Of course, that isn't how it works. The parents simply have another $500 a month coming from the taxpayers to squander on their own pleasures.
So yes, there are grounds to question the legitimacy of autism claims.
Anyone with an adolescent child can make these claims, coach them to appear abnormal and silent in the presence of their doctor to steal from the taxpayers. I would suggest that all claims of autism requires an MRI scan to help determine whether a child truly has this condition.I can only marvel at the sheer ignorance of this person and the lack of facts in their comment.
I don't know if you could teach a teenager to "act autistic" or not, but I can't believe for a second that any qualified doctor would be so easily fooled. I am not saying that it could never happen, but the kid would have to be a tremendous actor to pull it off and, even then, there are many involuntary tells that would give them away (hint - watch the kids eyes to see what they look at). Plus that ignores the fact that there are psychological tests like the ADOS that are designed to help diagnosis autism. It isn't just a matter of having your kid not talk and flap their arms in the doctor's office, there would be so much more to it than that.
I don't know of any government program that gives parents $500 a month for having a child with autism. Maybe there are such programs in other states, but I have never heard of one.
And then, to suggest that an MRI be performed to somehow validate the claim of autism. I have to wonder what they think an MRI will show. Apparently they have not taken the time to even look up basic facts about autism. If they had, they would have know that there are no quantitative tests for diagnosing autism - you can't tell from an MRI, blood, or other physical test that someone has autism.
I would like to think that this sort of ignorance is rare, but unfortunately it is not. If you look at some of the other comments on this story, you will be treated to other opinions that are just as bad as this.
I think it is important to remember that addressing this sort of ignorance needs to be one of the main goals of the autism community. It is too easy to look inward and argue amongst ourselves about vaccines, causation, difference vs disability, functioning level, or other such minutia and forget that the rest of the world is rather ignorant about autism.