As a person with autism, I did not always have control over my condition. Like many people with autism, I had to undergo various forms of therapy and groups to overcome my limitations. However, even though I eventually gained control over my condition, not all of these “specialists” or “groups” have had a positive impact on me. As I mentioned in my 2013 interview with Autism Live, I had unpleasant experiences with people who did not understand how to help me with my condition, which resulted in negative consequences.
For example, when I was a toddler, I was taken to a daycare center who did not employ the friendliest of people. In one instance, when I had an episode in which my autism made me emotionally unstable, two of the teachers dragged me out of the classroom by my wrists and ankles and locked me in a closet. Because of their brutality, I was moved out of that daycare center. All of that happened on the first and only day I was there.
Another example of “groups” that had a negative effect on me was when I joined this group for disabled children while I was in middle school. The lady who ran the group was a cold and unfeeling tyrant who mocked our troubles and emotionally abused us rather than helped us. One time one of the children I was assigned to needed to use the restroom and she refused to let him go because she thought he was trying to avoid the group and by the time the meeting ended he wet himself. In my case, I underwent a severe case of depression and instead of helping me overcome my depression, the lady made an exaggerated, sarcastic impression of me being depressed. Also, she tried to make me speak the way she wanted me to speak because she thought I sounded too smart and mature for someone my age.
While some of the school aides I was provided throughout my academic career were helpful and positive, there were some who saw me as nothing more than a job instead of a person with problems. One aide in particular was an overbearing woman who imposed help upon me when I didn’t need any and complained about every little mistake I ever made no matter how minor and insignificant it was. She never understood what I was going through or how to handle my needs.
Even though these “groups” and “specialists” were unpleasant, I persevered and eventually gained control of my condition and live a relatively average life. In general, these experiences have taught me that if you have a child with autism, it would be wise to check the following qualifications of a group or specialist. Firstly, make sure that the group or specialist in question provides a calm and positive environment rather than a hostile one. Secondly, make sure that the specialist actually understands what they are doing and have what it takes to help your child’s needs. Thirdly, make sure that the specialist sees your child as a person rather than another job. With these qualifications, I am certain you will find the right help your autistic child would need.