Tired of all these Autism and ADHD brats!


When I was a kid they didn’t call it “Behavioral Disorders.”  They called it “Being a little brat!”  This is just ONE of many memes I have seen on my social networks. They are shared by my friends and family. I would like to think that is just the ignorant/uneducated who feel this way, but it isn’t.

Driving home from work a couple weeks ago, a college-educated peer told me that she felt that “most of these autism and adhd diagnoses” are fabricated.  Her son had some of the traits of a child with Autism/ADHD but HE doesn’t have Autism/ADHD so maybe it doesn’t really exist. She felt it was just an “excuse” for people NOT to parent. Did I mention she was COLLEGE EDUCATED?!?  She knew about my blog, my Asperger’s, and my beliefs, but since my thoughts are different from hers, of course mine MUST be wrong.  After all, it’s just years of science and research backing up my story. What is that compared to her personal experience with her own kids?

I call people who think this way The Dismissers. I get so frustrated when people make those sort of comparisons. Because their experience is “x” then yours must be “x” too. “I never wore a seat belt when I was a kid. I’m fine.” Thanks Professor Know-It-All. Was your car ever t-boned by a pickup truck? No?  Then I don’t think you’re fine because you didn’t wear a seat belt. You’re fine because you didn’t have an accident. Just like your child is fine because they DON’T have Autism or ADHD.  It is unfortunate that people think that way because a parent of a truly ADHD child would probably glady exchange your childs “similar traits” for their child’s full-blown ADHD.

Maybe you’ve met another type of ignorance: The Spanking Cures EVERYTHING Bunch.Their meme might say “I was spanked as a child. As a result I now have a psychological condition known as ‘respect for others’.”  Sorry to burst your balloon folks, but I had the fire spanked out of me on many, many, MANY occasions and you may be surprised to know that no matter how hard she tried, my mother could not spank the Autism out of me.


Instead of spanking respect into me, my logical brain processed it this way:


Spankings only served to remind me just how worthless I was. Even as a kid I knew you could get in trouble for hitting a dog, but not a kid.  Spanking reminded me of my lack of value.  It taught me fear. It taught me you could be a hypocrite as long as you were physically bigger.  It didn’t teach me love or respect.  I moved out at 17 and you want to know what really hurts when I look back at my childhood? I was a GOOD kid. No drinking. No smoking. No drugs. No sass. Still got whipped.  I finally decided “What’s the point in being good if you’re still going to get hit?” Hitting me had the opposite effect. Instead of curbing bad behavior, it encouraged it. If I was going to get hit -I might as well make it worth it. If being a little late meant I would be whipped, I might as well stay out until dawn.

While the Dismissers and the Spankers frustrate me, The Nelsons really frost my cookies.  These are adult bullies (like Nelson on the Simpsons) They think that bullying OTHER peoples’ kids is their right.

HA_HA_-NELSON_SIMPSONSWhat’s even worse is that many people appear to agree. This past week I saw many  people on social media sharing the story about an adult man who was frustrated in Burger King. If you believe his story, the man was in line in front of a mother and her son.  His story claims that the boy was repeatedly screaming that he wanted some “F-ing Pie.” When it was his turn to order, the man decided he would buy all 23 pies so the child could not have one. The writer (who has removed his post) claims: “Moments later I hear the woman yelling, what do you mean you don’t have any pies left, who bought them all? I turn around and see the cashier pointing me out with the woman shooting me a death glare. I stand there and pull out a pie and slowly start eating eat as I stare back at her. She starts running towards me but can’t get to me because of other lineups in the food court. I turn and slowly walk away.”

There. Ha ha kid.


Lesson learned! Right? Almost all of the comments cheered for the ADULT man who bought all the pies to keep an obnoxious child from getting one. (As if Burger King couldn’t cook more pies.) I cannot understand that.  They are the biggest hypocrites of all. They believe they can change a child’s disrespectful behavior with their own poor behaviors.


  • You dismiss true medical diagnoses.  Would you ever share a meme that described deaf people as “deaf & dumb”?  No! Of course you wouldn’t. Although that terminology was used historically, in today’s world it sounds derogatory and is offensive to the deaf community.  (Yes, I realize dumb used to mean mute and not a measure of their intelligence.)  I am sure kids with ADHD were often misdiagnosed as “just being brats.” We know now that they aren’t. Don’t perpetuate ignorance.
  • You are saying that any child that is misbehaving just needs to be hit in order to behave. Although I would disgree with spanking for any child, it is especially damaging to children with Autism/ADHD/Mental disorders.
  • You encourage grown adults to act malevolent and petty towards children.     You APPLAUD them for it. “You showed that kid!”
  • You tell the world that bullying IS OK as long as it’s an adult doing it to a child.

Stop. Please.  With all the funny, rib-tickling memes out there on social media, surely you can share something else?
Share a time when you were feeling burnt out and just let the kids have frozen waffles for dinner.
Share a time when you were overly exhausted and let your child get away with behavior you normally wouldn’t because you just didn’t have the energy that day.

EVERY parent has had these moments of desperation.
EVERY child has made a mistake and acted poorly.
Don’t judge them based on a 30 second interaction.

I know… some of you are saying “But some kids ARE brats!”  Do you know the child? Can you honestly tell by looking at a child which one has ADHD or Autism?  Can you tell from the kids below?


Yeah. Me neither.  You would be surprised to learn which of these kiddos struggles with Asperger’s.   Is it the blonde haired boy with his sweet smile?  Surely that brown haired boy must be up to no good. He just looks like he wants to break something.  What about the little girl in pigtails. Is she cute or spoiled rotten?  And that teenager giving the camera a thumbs up?  Is she a good kid or is she slamming doors and screaming “I hate you!” to her parents?

It is so easy to project our experiences, our beliefs onto another person or situation.

For the record, between the two boys, the little blonde haired boy would be the kiddo most likely to break something.  He may look sweet and innocent here (and he is) but he has enough energy for three children. He can sneak a snack cake out of the kitchen in 2 seconds flat. He has to touch everything. He is my own personal Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes (my favorite comic).  If I don’t hear him, I need to go find him.  My brunette son was trying to give me a tough guy pose for this picture years ago.  He is my people-pleasing, “yes ma’am”, “no ma’am”, “please and thank you” kid. He was the designated “Kind Kid” ambassador at school and was assigned the task of showing new kids around.  He would give you his very last bite of food right off of his plate if he even thought you looked hungry.

As for the two girls. Well… the little one with the pig tails is an advanced reader. She’s a perfect little frog-loving, lizard catching tomboy. She loves everyone. She shares without being asked.  She is such an angel.  The teenager is also a good kid. A little withdrawn and addicted to Skype, but she helps take care of her siblings while her momma works. She cooks dinner. She is beautiful and has such a tender heart.  I don’t know what I would do without her.  Did I forget to mention – the two girls on the end are the same girl. The pictures are twelve years apart.

See how little we know by just a look?

If you want to share something today, share this.

280 thoughts on “Tired of all these Autism and ADHD brats!

  1. I’m glad someone is addressing this issue, as it is ridiculous. My son has autism and therefore we have been through many of the cruel comments.

    I particularly like your comment about adults acting malevolent towards kids – since when does treating someone badly make them behave better?

  2. This is a fabulous post. As a child therapist, I think it is also important to recognize that trauma also can look just like ADHD. Children who have been through severe neglect and trauma, especially those living in poverty, often have many symptoms of distractibility, agitation, irritability, and hyperactivity. Childhood trauma often gets misdiagnosed as ADHD, and can sometimes even look like a spectrum disorder. Thanks so much for putting all this out there. You rock and your kids are beauties. Congrats on being freshly pressed!

  3. Although I agree with much of what you write you appear to be attacking a straw man. I certainly feel many years ago many kids were undiagnosed with various issues like ADHD because the methods of detecting it back then was not as advanced as today. But I also feel that there are indeed cases of misdiagnosis today as well. I don’t condone bullying, spanking, or bad parenting but I certainly feel some parents are overindulgent and there are plenty of spoiled brats around. I don’t blame the kids anymore than I blame poorly behaved dog. The parents or a dog owner are the ones who deserve the scorn.

  4. I didn’t necessary get hit or spanked. Words are just as powerful. And sometimes even more painful. Parents think they can bully their child yet when the kid tries to speak they are “talking back”. From a (hormonal) fourteen year old, if you want me to respect you, you have to respect me too.

  5. Oh I’ve had those burger king line moments. Where my daughter gets an idea in her head and the walls slam down and we all get to hear about her wanting her pie over and over because when I say, “I’m going to get you pie, honey” she hears, “Red donkey blah feets.” I can’t even imagine how I’d react if someone did something like what that guy did. I don’t get how someone could witness something that abnormal and not totally get that they shouldn’t be applying social norms to it.

  6. I work as a Phlebotomist at a local hospital and have run into situations where people push their way past me on elevators and even got to swearing at me because they thought I “did something wrong”. If there is anything I learned about being in a hospital, it is this: You may think that someone is just being completely rude, but in a hospital anyone could LITERALLY be having the worst day of their lives. I guess how we perceive things really affects how we act.

  7. children – human guinea-pigs for the pharma-elite – should be kept constantly pumped with psychoactive drugs if they behave even slightly outside our sick society standards.

    “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” J. Krishnamurti

    • How exactly are society’s standards “sick” at all? And some people (such as myself) genuinely need psychiatric meds. Without my meds, my anxiety is unmanageable. Are you saying that you don’t care about that?

      • Actually, I did read your blog. I was simply responding to what Crownhill South said. Seems like you’re the one who’s making assumptions here, not me.

      • My apologies. I was on my mobile and it looked as if you were replying to the blog instead of a reply. I am not sure why the mobile app makes it appear that way. My sincerest apologies. ❤

      • the first part was sarcasm, the quote was not. it´s just an opinion.

        I don´t want to discuss the state of “modern society” here, as I´m in no position to judge. for you it is irrelevant if I care or not, but not for my children.

  8. Reblogged this on Sweet Notes of Spring and commented:
    Yes it’s a little lengthy but this is a good article that I don’t have to write myself since I feel the same way. I don’t have any disability per se but I know of people who do. And now that I have my own kiddo, I really do want to be a more patient, objective and nice person to everyone.

    After all, we all have different upbringing, disability/s or not and seek to be understood, and not bullied or punished unnecessarily.

  9. The problem is that no matter what you say, a hard-pressed doctor who has a maximum of ten minutes to decide before he has to see another patient cannot successfully differentiate between genuine ADHD and a kid who is simply a little brat every time. And in some cases, having managed to have their child diagnosed with ADHD, a parent may then sit back and say to themselves “its official, its not my fault.” And they see this as permission to stop trying to discipline their child.

    There are a great many people who don’t dispute the existence of conditions such as ADHD but, in the same manner as any other disability, when they see people either seeking or accepting a misdiagnosis for their own benefit at everyone else’s expense then it is of course going to create an outcry.

    • These diagonoses take months. From direct to indirect experience, a year with several multi-hours sessions and evaluations is the norm. In which cases did it take 10 minutes? I’d like to know because even an intake session takes about an hour.

      • To clarify, a doctor (I think you mean a GP?) doesn’t do a diagnosis everytime a patient is seen. Either the visit is for something unrelated and it matters little or there is a suspected disorder and a diagnostic process, to be done elsewhere over a long period of time, can be proposed.

    • concernedbystander78 – I second what Erwin Blonk posted: diagnoses take longer than a 10 minute session to get. For our son to get his ASD diagnosis, it involved a team of specialists seeing how he acted in a variety of settings. It took well over a year from start to finish, due to the amount of evidence that needed to be amassed and other disabilities that needed to be ruled out.

      I strongly suspect it is due to people jumping to such conclusions about doctors handing out diagnoses for any unruly child coming their way which leads to many of the problems mentioned above. Surely simple common sense would have told you there was no way such a thing was diagnosed, which would mean a great deal more being spent out on education & care etc, without a great deal of evidence to back it up.

      • And I’m sure that is the case most of the time, but I have known a case (just the one fortunately) where a child has been prescribed with ritalin in an awful lot less time than that. The exception as opposed to the rule I’m sure. But in anycase it is always a minority that gives the rest the bad name.

    • Your comment is ignorant. Doctors are not dumb and are fully capable of doing their job. And I’m sure most kids display some symptoms of adhd or autism but do not get a diagnosis because it does not NEGATIVELY affect their lives. That is the key word. My son has adhd. I am not lazy. I work hard and guess what? It doesn’t mean anything. My son still responds the way he will respond irregardless of whatever discipline I use. Obe reason that he has his adhd diagnosis. Why would you get diagnised if you were a perfect child? It is hard and reading your statement was insensitive and judgemental.

  10. This is an AMAZING post, I have been thinking about this lately, my best friends boy gets judged a lot by others who don’t know him well and it really is unfair. Why should a 3 year old get punished for having a lot of energy? Why do others think they know how to parent a child better than their actual parents? Your insight into this is incredible. Thanks for posting

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  12. When i saw this post, i thought it was you talking from the side of the people who posted these memes. i was going to disagree with you, but then i read the post. i agree with you. thank you.

  13. Reblogged this on Cause A Current and commented:
    Interesting view on childhood behavior diagnoses. As a former children’s mental health worker, I often find myself teetering on this topic of whether these diseases actually exist or whether we are over-diagnosing and over-medicating our youth. For some, the answer may be Yes. For others, writing them off as perfectly healthy “brats” is unfair and ignoring an important problem.

  14. I’m the mother of a twenty three year old Aspergers son. 23 years ago, well 21 years ago after many doctors, opions, specialists he was diagnosed PDD NOS. What? I know right? Pervasive Development Disorder Not Otherwise Specified.okay thanks, Bryna Seagull of San Francisco State University! It was a real nice way of saying, Jonna, your son isn’t right but we can’t tell you why, what or how? Special Ed preschool, much reading, research and prayer put us in front of a European trained physician who finally diagnosed him a year later with Aspbergers. I notice today parents of these precious kids don’t have to take five minutes to explain the spectrum wheel of autism. I’m so happy for you. I was in a small foothill town in Northern Ca. The teachers and administrators were not trained in such disorders. I’m proud of the district for jumping on board with seminars, sending the majority of the districts teachers both special ed and main stream to get educated, to learn how to deal with this social, neurological disorder in their classrooms. To give kids like my Ryder a chance to grow in a mainstreamed classroom. It was groundbreaking and soon parents were like wow, my kid is finally learning, kids who had slipped through without being diagnosed, only being thought of as disruptive were now recognised and taught in a more understanding nurturing environment. I remember my sons one on one aid coming over to visit one afternoon and saying, “Jonna do you know what you’ve changed for this school district?” I said no, I just needed to know that kids just weren’t inherently good or bad, sometimes there is a cause and then we need to find answer. Not struggle against the problem. She said, “I walked by a teacher at the elementary school who had a student out of the classroom, she was crouched at eye level with him, talking very sternly, saying you need to listen to me and LOOK at me when I’m talking to you” I gasped. She continued, “I tapped her on the shoulder and said can I speak to him? She nodded yes. I got in front of this fourth grader and said, you don’t have to look and listen, but you do need to hear your teacher, can you hear her when she tells you what you need to work on? He nodded yes. Does it make too much noise to look and listen at the same time, his head had been looking down, when I asked him that question, he looked at me, smiled and nodded vehemently.” I was crying now because I knew the teacher and I knew the boy she was talking about. The parents of this boy refused to believe their son had anything wrong with him that old fashioned discipline wouldn’t cure. He had been spent to school specialists and the parents just deemed him stubborn. Because of my son and the subsequent education received by teachers and his one on one teachers aide, she knew immediately that this teacher needed to be told she could have her student listen, or look, but she wasn’t going to get both, not without lots of static and outbursts. Eye contact and tactical skin contact, textures, light, noises, ticking clocks, shiny objects, all that and more makes learning harder for any child with any degree of autism spectrum disorder. We made a difference. God gave my Son to parents test are bringing their kids into a school district 21 years later armed and ready to lovingly teach these kids. Ryder, my big grown up guy now is doing well. He played football all four years of high school, is very social although doesn’t have tight one on one friendships, still parallel playing as they call it, even as a grown up. He doesn’t drive. He dies have a job and is a wiz with electronics. Reads and sings like a pure genius. Most importantly and all I ever hoped and prayed for is Ryder is the most loving, caring, compassionate, tender funny, loving, good friend anyone could ever ask for. He is my heart and I’m glad I was stubborn enough to not settle for PDD NOS as a real diagnosis. And certainly I’m grateful for the progress today in the medical and neurology field to know so much more about autism and all it’s many spectrums. The mind Institute in Davis Ca. Is a brilliant source if anyone wants to catch up on the latest studies. God Bless!

    • I’m glad your son got the help he needed, but as a 27-year-old with PDD-NOS (who ALSO got the help I needed, BECAUSE I was properly diagnosed), I’m going to have to respectfully ask you to knock it off with the “thats not a REAL diagnosis” nonsense.

      I mean, yes, technically it isn’t a “real diagnosis” anymore because it, autism, and Asperger’s syndrome have all been folded together under the single heading of Autistic Disorder (which I have some mixed feelings about), but the fact you clearly don’t understand what “Not Otherwise Specified” means in a DSM context is a fault in you, not in the DSM or your son’s doctor.

      • Noted and heeded. My sincere apologies; I hereby “knock it off” I will only let you know until my son fit into a box on a form acceptable to all the resource centers available to guide us into programs and funding available he simply did not qualify with the diagnoses of PDD NOS. If the flaw is with me, then I gladly accept that criticism. Maybe today kids are being given services with a PDD NOS diagnoses. Ryder was not, until he was diagnosed aspbergers. I respect your view. Thank you for setting me straight.

  15. I agree with you. Why should a name be given to any kind of psychological problem, when it only is a small glitch in the psychology. And the thing about fitting into society, it is the most absurd concept ever. I was initially a victim of this, but now it feels a lot better to compare myself with my previous self. Instead of focussing on how to have a high social standard, I started focussing on what I could do to make my career bloom. The kind of peace I found in focussing on self development was immeasurable. And focussing on the Self doesn’t necessarily have to mean being selfish.

  16. ok; I love you. I have autism & adhd, as does one of my children. one of the other two children has autism, and the third has adhd. I can relate, richly.

    sharing and following.

  17. Thank you for the post. I am so tired of the “my kid’s better than yours” war. “I am a better mom because I don’t put up with that crap” OR “I am a better mom because I never yell, say no, or get frustrated”. How about we all, and really it’s mostly true, are just doing the best we can with what we’ve got. One experience with a child is just ONE experience. Most kids can be “brats” one minute and “angels” the next…so can I. It’s encouraging to know I am not alone in how I feel about this issue!

  18. Outstanding blog post, I don’t think what you said could have been put anymore perfectly! I completely agree with you, some people are so rude and uneducated about Autism and ADHD, yet they think it’s perfectly okay to degrade somebody for having either, and it’s absurd and wrong. Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites just make people’s ignorance worse and this needs to change because the way in which people negatively talk about Autism and ADHD is unacceptable. Thank you for writing this blog post because you’ve expressed many people’s thoughts better than we personally could. Will definitely be sharing this with the people I know! X

  19. I use to work in the mental health field at masters level and yes there are children over diagnosed and under diagnosed and over medicated. I would like to see more of a holistic approach in addition to the traditional treatment of these disorders. Parents are made by trails and errors not given explicit directions and I imagine having a child with a mental disorder compounds the experience and can be difficult at times with the extra care and lack of support of a spouse or whomever. Educating parents on the diagnoses, routines, health diet and exercise and sports or some other activity for an outlet and holistic approaches would be beneficial to ease some of these difficulties. Focus on what’s right about them so they can lead meaningful lives. I’m against the spanking. I didn’t hit my youngest son and very few times I have with older son and daughter. I self taught parenting skills and utilized alternative techniques such as pick your battles and natural consequences. Maybe I’m too liberal. Nobody is perfect. I’m surely wasn’t a perfect parent. I learned as I went along and got better with the last one. Spent time alone with each and put them mostly first in my life and led by example. I’m proud I raised them solely on my own for the last seven years. They respect me but not fear me and we have a healthy relationship and bond. They know I have their back as they learn from mistakes. It’s called support not saving them. My heart goes out to any parent who has a child with a mental disorder or medical diagnoses.

  20. I almost didn’t read this. The title and first few lines were sneaky. I have a stepson who is autistic and ADHD, his younger brother is just ADHD, and the jury is still out on sister since she is 4, but there is a big difference between kids with actual disorders and kids who have crappy parents. This was a great article about the reality of these diagnoses. It really is hard to believe that we even have to have this conversation in 2014!

  21. Due to a lack of knowledge, I tend to do some research on this. However, from what I have read here I can say that i understand where you are coming from. I have heard a theory as to the cause of ADHD, but have forgotten the source. I will be sure to post it if it sounds like something that interest you. All of that aside I can say that this blog in its ability to help spread awareness about these disorders and how some people chose to ignore it or bully people with the disorder.

  22. Thank you for posting this. My younger brother has Autism and I know all too well the assumptions that many people make about my brother and other children with like disorders. I believe that these people are simply afraid of what they don’t know/understand, so they have to put a label on these children that they are familiar with (being brats) in order for them to make sense of the child’s behavior and so they themselves can feel comfortable around the child. No matter how frustrated I get with these “dissmissers”, I can’t help but feel sorry for them and their lack of knowledge about these disorders because they really miss out on getting to know some very special gifted, and lovable children.

  23. I just have to say I LOVE this post! My 7 year old son is an Aspie and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard all the crap about just putting him in his place or spank him or he’s just an immature hyper brat. I will definitely share this article and hope that it might help someone see it from your point of view and change some very ignorant minds! Please stop by my brand new blog (my first ever!) It’s about my personal struggles with being a mom and wife while coping with being bipolar and raising an Aspie. I would love to hear any feedback you might have. Thank you for this wonderful piece! Check me out at thementalmom.com

  24. Generally I was mischief child of curiosity. It allowed for my disregard of rules like being home when the street lights came on for fully engrossed play. Punishment in the early years out of fear I may be snatched by a predator was a spanking. To the much more effective method in later years to that restriction of those things I desired to have or do. Spanking to me is a way for ignorant parents to deal with unknown art of parenting.

  25. Generally I was mischief child of curiosity. It allowed for my disregard of rules like being home when the street lights came on for fully engrossed play. Punishment in the early years out of fear I may be snatched by a predator was a spanking. To the much more effective method in later years to that restriction of those things I desired to have or do. Spanking to me is a way for ignorant parents to deal with unknown art of parenting.

  26. Reblogged this on Identity Mummy and commented:
    The youngest of my three brothers (13.14 & 21) is mildly Autistic. He is quite possibly THE most awesome human being I have ever had the pleasure of spending time with. Not enough is widely understood about Autism or any of the conditions mentioned in this post.

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  28. As a teacher I see kids every year diagnosed with many behavioral problem. It is real and getting worse every year. Research needs to be done to figure out what is happening because the problem is growing.

  29. I love this we (adults) sometimes in our delusions of grandeur and self-centeredness forget that children are people too. This post put so much into perspective. Thank you. Especially for those that are constantly othered and have to validate their existence.

  30. I have recently had a couple of very very distracted piano students with behaviours that might be diagnosed as ADHD and changes in teaching techniques, combined with talking to the parents and changes in what happens at home, have resulted in these kids being very very attentive. So, I wonder, are there some children diagnosed with ADHD who are actually just a by-product of impatient and stressed parenting?

  31. it taught me love and respect sweetie… and it taught my kids too ..who are in their 30’s….. I’m in my 50’s…o.k.? and when the future grands ..start coming in…guess what… i will tap that butt…if i deem it necessary…. u just didn’t get beat ..the right way…. smh…. and yes u should fear ur parents..just a little… now a days… kids come out their mouth..saying” My Parents won’t do nothing….” wrong thing to say….

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