I was diagnosed with A.D.H.D. in early 2017, and six months later, my husband and I learned one of our sons has autism. I knew so little that it took me about two months to realize that A.D.H.D. is an “autism cousin.” I’m still learning all the ways that the two conditions are related.
Autism was a surprise. All I knew prior to diagnosis was that vaccines didn’t cause it. Learning that genetics play a role–and that his forefathers (and mothers) passed down little-known autistic traits like musical ability and math/science-related careers–shouldn’t have been a surprise, but it was.
When my son was diagnosed with autism and the doctor who ran the evaluation could tell me nothing about what research I should review, or what treatment other than ABA was evidence-based. When even doctors can’t sort through the research in order to improve treatment recs, it’s not a good sign for us who are new to the tribe.
I have a background in health care and politics, but nothing prepared me for the slow-as-molasses pace of progress for the neurodiverse in this country. With so many self-advocates pushing for a better tomorrow, it is heartbreaking to see fellow autism parents attacking autistic adults. We must do better.