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. In 2nd level education my class covered Charles Dickens Great Expectations…there is one line in it uttered by the young Pip which reads ‘Tickler rendered me sensitive’ …as a teenager this sentence stopped me in my tracks…if there had been opportunity to explore that single line it would have been helpful in bringing a whole lot more understanding to the area of beating children…’spanking’ does not convey the anger or temper of the person doling out the abusive behaviour which sends the damaging message….you are not loved…Tickler was the stick used to beat the young boy in the story when he was deemed to have been wrong…..people who joke about such things are likely to have these shameful Skeltons in their own closets….they got on with it…so should everyone else….but when we deny our true feelings we are more likely to suffer in o ther ways….depressing feelings to spare others is not the answer…I enjoy reading your posts.

  2. Ah, yes. “I think autism and ADD are just ways to make excuses for your child’s behavior or lack of intelligence.” I heard that several months ago. (It was not directed towards me, thank goodness.)

    When it is directed toward me, I usually retort, “And where did you get your MD from? Wait, are you a PsychD?”

    • I think you could have stopped listening too closely at the word “just” – any observation that contains that word – and there are a lot, I only got tow replies down the list to find to reporting this one – is unlikely to contain a lot of understanding or support.

    • You never no what’s it’s like to have an autistic child till you’ve got one n no it’s not just being a brat or bad parenting hate how people like u are ok slagging mums with autistic kids of but bet you’ve never lived or looked after one on your life so when u no how they feel n what it’s like to look after some 1 with autism then come bk coz I can tell you now it’s descusting how your all slating just hope to god you never have an autistic child coz let’s face it ur that sad n perfetic you would probably give up after a day!!!!!!!

  3. This is a fantastic article. My daughter has Asprerger’s and I know people often see her as a ‘brat’, and me as a ‘bad parent’. I am so glad that you are trying to get your point across about how Autism in all its various degrees should be taken seriously. Thank you

  4. I must say after reading a lot of replies on this I would not use any term as “brat” or any other term to describe a child whom you don’t know. Autism is not a subject to use in a society that is overloaded with ASD.

  5. It aint right for parents who got kids with adhd to use as a excuse to not want or love your kid. Its not the childs fault. if they have adhd but if your child doesnt have any thing but acts like that, maybe you be a better parent or pay attention to them

  6. To the author:
    I just read this article right before reading this post. Might be one to address in a future post. I was so sad when I read it – that a therapist would claim ADHD is bad parenting (specifically American parenting). A therapist. Who is writing a book about ADHD.

    My response to it that I posted on our ADHD New Zealand support page:

    This is so sad – that a ‘therapist’ thinks ADHD is caused by bad parenting and that children with ADHD just don’t understand discipline or self-control. I think we should give children more credit, and adults – we know right and wrong, and we are constantly trying to do better, to do the ‘right’ thing, but no matter how hard we try sometimes, things just seem to “happen”. I felt nauseous when she talked about ‘spanking’ – as if smacking a child with ADHD would have any effect what-so-ever
    Her view doesn’t explain two important points:
    1) how children in the same family, who are raised the same, with the same parenting style, can exhibit such markedly different behaviours i.e. one with ADHD, one without
    2) And this is an important one – if medications are being overprescribed, and no doubt in some cases are, what parent would keep their child on them? A child who is incorrectly given a stimulant will immediately become even more hyperactive and out of control. There will be no improvement, so therefore I can’t see a parent keeping them on the meds. I think this stems from a misunderstanding about ADHD medication being a sedating drug rather than a stimulant drug.
    3) This discipline and self-control argument doesn’t take into account about 75% of ADHD symptoms – it only covers bahavioural issues. It can’t explain for example, why we miss out letter and words, why we can’t find our keys, why we can’t get organised or be on time (Ironic – I missed the S of letters :S)

    • And I spelt behavioural wrong. And I left the second ‘F’ off “off”. Maybe I shouldn’t have been given snacks and my Mum should have left me to cry. What a terrible parent she is.

  7. This is a good article. I have a mild case of aspergers myself and siblings have heavy autism, and there’s a point I’d like to make to about the ‘over-diagnosis’ drivel some people in the comments are coming out with.

    Getting a diagnosis isn’t a free pass to help. To get what my brother and sister need to help them is a constant battle with services who seem to try and find any excuse they can not to bother helping, and it is a common occurrence unfortunately. People who really need that help don’t always get it.

    On the other end of things was my diagnosis. You might think of it as over-diagnosis as is is mild, but without it I never would have got the few things that made life in academia bearable. Even in mild form it can have subtle impacts on your life, and a diagnosis helps get those things that, like I said, helps temper them and therefore allow you to show what you can really do.

    Sure, people try to abuse the system, but that happens with everything and it is quite wrong to use that as an excuse for not helping others.

    To the author, wonderfully written! I’ll be sure to follow 🙂

  8. Hypocritical article full of faulty information. I call BS on the aspergers, this whole article shows how illogical you really are, all bent on emotional drivel about how you feel.

  9. Most kids labeled autistic are just spoiled rotten. Also, parents who overly coddle their infants and toddlers shield them from stress almost completely , and thus they do not develop normally from a neurological standpoint. They are like animals raised in a zoo who cannot survive in the wild, they have been too spoiled to learn to survive.
    When you speak of adults bullying children, in every generation in the history of mankind except this one adults WERE actually above adults, as they should be. The power dynamic has now reversed, with kids being put above adults, especially the men. I think this came from taking advantage of our natural chivalry, so that a child could be used as a sort of tool . For example, people could use a kid to elbow their way to the front of the line when getting on a plane, shaming anyone who would question. All this did was teach kids that they were entitled , even though the adults do all the work from building the plane to flying it.
    The future for these kids is bleak. They will live in govt . subsidized cramped studios , far from the good part of town. Housing costs will continue to soar , as young men will be too spoiled to build or maintain houses, causing a horrible housing shortage. Unless they have very rich parents, they will not be as spoiled as adults as they were as kids.

    • Would you tell a Veteran without arms to, “just learn how to write with your toes…I’m sure as heck not going to enable you…”?
      Hopefully, your answer is, “no”.
      As a mom of two kiddos with autism, I can testify that they go through extensive testing, including MRIs and EEGs, along with written diagnostics as well as observation, over a long period of time. The process of diagnosis is long, tiring, extensive, and not so much fun.
      It’s HELL. We pick our battles.
      My daughter, my aspie, used to overhear me walking through the house searching for that, “fckng fly”, unbeknownst to me. She thereafter thought that it was a specific type of fly. So, her saying, at age three, that there was a, “fckng fly in the house”, was not indicative of bratty behavior. She really thought that Mommy was correctly identifying a type of fly. Maybe that kid was doing the same with the pie…I don’t know, each kid is different…and either way, it’s nobody’s place to judge.

  10. I know that autism, Asperger’s, ADHD and other diagnoses are very real and that the kids who are affected by such things really struggle with their behaviors sometimes. I have also worked with A LOT of kids who were affected by all manner of autism spectrum disorders, mental illnesses, and behavioral disorders, and I know for a fact that there is no diagnosis that entitles any child to be an asshole either in public or private. Kids with autism or ADHD certainly face some challenges that other kids may not face, but they are not incapable of behaving well.
    They may need some additional support from their parents in order to do so, but kids with autism and/or ADHD are PERFECTLY capable of learning new, more positive behaviors as well as changing old, destructive behaviors. It typically all comes back to the parents. The parents of children who are affected by behavioral or autism spectrum disorders have to put a bit more mental energy and work into parenting if they want to have kids they can fearlessly take with them anywhere and everywhere. Whether a child is affected by a behavorial disorder, autism, or some other issue, or is unaffected by any of these things, the parents who take the time and make the effort to be an age-appropriate, fair, and above all CONSISTENT disciplinarians are gonna be the parents whose first consideration is gonna be “Is this something my kids will enjoy and learn from?” instead of “How are the other people there gonna react if/when my kid has a meltdown/acts like a jerk/freaks out and starts screaming?” whenever they are contemplating a new experience (first time at a fancy restaurant/going to they symphony/opening of much publicized exhibition at an upscale art gallery/a distant cousin’s very formal, very fancy wedding/etc) for their children.
    Kids affected by autism CAN behave well. Kids with cognitive deficits can behave well. Kids with ADHD, ADD, conduct disorders, oppositional-defiant disorder, and even some kids affected by mental illnesses can behave well. What’s more, most kids WANT to behave well! They’re kids, they’re not stupid, and when they are properly and consistently motivated with rewards, recognition, and consequences (when appropriate) most of them will quickly learn to regulate their own behavior and will be happier, healthier and much more well-adjusted for it.
    Kids are much more motivated by recognition and reward than by the possibility of consequences, and there is never any valid reason to either strike or shame a child. When a parent takes a child who has special needs out in public and then allows that child to be a loud, rude, disruptive little jerk, that parent is vicariously shaming their child via the dirty looks and mean, judgemental statements made by the total strangers who have no idea that their child is struggling with the challenges of autism or ADHD. This makes such parents complete assholes on a whole new level; many of us are aware that they are inconsiderate for subjecting us to the ear-splitting screams of their special little snowflakes, but how many of us have thought about what we are helping them do to their kids?

  11. Reblogged this on We Called Him Lucky and commented:
    Awesome post! I would just like to add one more, if I may. And we’ll call them the excluders. They are the parents who pull their noses up at your kids, but don’t have the guts to say anything about your kids, but they make sure their kids don’t befriend your kids.

    I dream of a world where our boys will be seen as normal or as different as EVERY human on earth! And I dream of a world where people won’t treat you as if there I something you did or do to cause Autism.


  12. I am in my 40’s, and recently found out I was autistic. I am high functioning, so was able to conceal it for the most part, yet everyone I spoke to about my diagnosis were unsurprised.
    When I was a toddler, my father was in his ’50s, and had served in WW2. He was a ‘spare the rod-spoil the child’ kind of guy, and his generation had no concept of childhood, let alone mental disorders. My mother is over twenty years younger and still doesn’t like ‘labels’, feeling labelling people with problems limits them in some way, probably due to years of discrimination and misunderstanding.
    But what my father did was instil a set of rules. It took a while, and was quite unpleasant at the time, but it provided me with a security framework and a way to function in public.
    What I do see is parents today quick to try and rush their child into a diagnosis of autism, ADHD or the like, which muddies the water for those with legitimate problems. Sometimes kids are bad, it is part of growing up. They want to test boundaries and see what they can get away with, which is different from the autistic child.
    I am guilty of this myself as I took my daughter to the doctors because I suspected bipolar (her mother has it and there is a genetic disposition). The doctor told me adolescence IS a mental illness. But I saw bipolar because I was looking for / fearing it. I expect it is the same for other parents.
    On a happier note, when I met my wife, with her bipolar, my father then in his 90’s, spent a huge amount of time learning about the condition, and was really understanding.

  13. THank you so much for writing this. Seriously, thank you. From me, my ADHD husband and my ADHD/Asperger son. ❤ This puts into words so many things I've wanted to say.

  14. Thank you for this article. I have a child with Autism, one with A.D.H.D and with Down Syndrome. They are all young but it didn’t take long to truly believe that my child with Down Syndrome will probably have a MUCH easier time in life than my other two kids because they look “typical”. People. ….even ones that are aware of their diagnosis see misbehaving children and not children with struggles that are doing the best they can. I will be sharing this. You have made see I am not the only one who feels this way. They are all special and they are spectacular but the struggle is real!

  15. When the article asked if I could pick out the kid with an ADHD or Autism I did pick the blonde child. Only because I was that kid when younger. Don’t really have a logical explanation other than that but my brain instinctively picked up on it. Absolutely not trying to invalidate your point or anything just thought it was pretty cool that I could actually pick him out.

  16. “Your Child’s Not Autistic, You’re Just An Attention Whore”
    “I do know parents with real Autistic children, and they behave exactly the opposite of screaming brats. It’s actually really hurting the reputation of good, honest, hard-working, dedicated parents who actually have children who cannot respond to them emotionally that these attention whores would go and just paste the label du jour over their kid’s bad behavior.”

  17. I am a mother with a son with severe autism and learning disabilites.
    Hes my 5th child..
    Hes not a brat but a child that does not understand our world at all.
    Meltdowns are due to sensory overload my sons hearing is so intense it gets to much for him.
    But there you wouldnt know this cause you aint lived it.
    There is never one person with the same autism.
    Your the brat for saying all this about autism..
    Maybe one day you be blessed with a child with autism then you will eat your own words..
    Christine mayor

  18. This is amazing and fantastically written! A beautiful message in a bottle about awareness and acceptance. The judgement and cruelty towards one another has escalated to such a degree of segregation. Your message provided hope that kindness and understanding still exist. Thank you.

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