Autism Misdiagnosis – Advantage or Disadvantage?

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Autism is a neural disorder affecting development, and some of its main characteristics are impairment of social interaction, as well as verbal and non-verbal communication. This disorder is diagnosed in children, and the symptoms must show before the age of three; it is the result of a genetic mutation, but so far we have been unable to determine whether it occurs when rare mutations do, or when rare combinations of common genetic variants take place. What we wish to discuss in this article however is autism misdiagnosis, and how it has come to divide the world and stir controversy.

Autism Misdiagnosis Autism Misdiagnosis picture

While autism misdiagnosis can be linked to medical negligence and malpractice, what is surprising is that certain parents seek it. The problem is that misdiagnosis of mental illness can have very serious effects over the patient, and it can lead to irreparable damage, especially when the wrong treatment is prescribed. Up until a few decades ago, children were considered by the system to be either “smart” or “stupid”, without making any differentiation between various types of intelligence or offering the right support for those with learning disabilities and communication challenges.

Later on, when we discovered issues like autism, both parents and children were ashamed to accept and share this diagnosis with others, because of the social stigma it might have brought. Nowadays, autism misdiagnosis is used by parents whose children have milder forms of learning disabilities because the government supports them with services and assistance, and certain good schools have special classes for autistic children.

In their attempts to get the best for their children, parents expose them even more by accepting an autism misdiagnosis. Doctors who misdiagnose can be punished by law if there is proof of damage and injury as a result; but what about parents who are aware that their children might suffer from a different illness but accept the one that suits them best? Children with minor learning disabilities may be able to overcome them and return to normal if they receive the right treatment and assistance, but if they are put in the same group with autistic children, they’ll grow to believe they are ill too, and the treatment they receive won’t help them recover, on the contrary.

Autism Misdiagnosis Autism Misdiagnosis picture

It is known that most autistic children cannot become independent adults, and that they still need some form of support, either from parents or specialized authorities. Thus, a child that could very well grow to lead a normal life might be prevented from reaching that level if he or she is treated as if it were not possible. This is why parents must know when to avoid autism misdiagnosis, and to find an equilibrium between the correct diagnosis and the aides that the government offers.

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