Text on red background reads: Someone chimes in with have you heard that a diet to heal his gut could help? I saw a book the other day about it. - Amy Bean

Hard to stomach

I saw a conversation the other day and I was struck by how people are so ignorant about autism that they just eat up anything the Internet serves them and without knowing much more than a headline, that becomes their base knowledge. Click bait on a variety of autism causes and cures is certainly not something that gives you real knowledge on the subject.

My friend was discussing her autistic son on Facebook being bullied at school. He’s not coping and getting sent home almost everyday. It was in great detail, with lots of information on the child’s situation.

Many people offered suggestions and advice about how to support or help the child. Things like how to talk to the child about the situation, talking to the school and related people that could support and help, removing the child from school, offering help to the mum for a break etc.

Someone chimes in with “have you heard that a diet to heal his gut could help? I saw a book the other day about it.”

JUST DON’T be that person saying that a child being bullied, probably just needs a new diet because it’s his stomach creating this situation.

Bullies and coping with school would not be an issue if his stomach was addressed? Really? The school situation is all in your heads? Let’s blame the child’s fragile digestive system, that I know nothing about.

See how wonderful it is when someone who isn’t in any way qualified to make such grand suggestions, can just enlighten you with all their Internet woo and latest cure or cause of autism fix.

How about the next time you have a rough time at work, your boss is being difficult, you feel unsupported, you’re tired and your house is filthy, your relationship is breaking down and someone suggests you may just need to look at the correlation between these problems and gut issues.

How would you feel?

I’m guessing I would be really pissed off.

And you should.  As should someone who suggests the bullying and concerns with school are due to your son being autistic, with an undiagnosed bully inducing gut issue.

I have had a gut full of people correlating the gut and autism as causes or cures for being autistic.

Many people I know benefit from gluten free, dairy free, casein free diets, or whatever is best for that person to avoid. I know autistic people who do feel better on a diet that involves avoiding foods that cause them problems. They are no less autistic.

It’s important to remember that what people eat can impact on how they feel and function but it can never change their neurology.

Lately I no longer feel like I can be bothered with the niceties or I just want to nod when people say things that irk me about autism. Or are flat out ignorant, ableist and offensive. I don’t want to start a debate because most of the time I care not for the conversations I hear over and over. My off switch is triggered and getting ready for shooting out my quickest comment and shutting down.

The misinformation that constantly parades around about things like causes of autism, arguing over functioning labels (my child’s ‘severe’, I don’t think yours is), the “treatments” and woo Internet cures really bothers me. And exhausts me.

2 replies
  1. JulieKay Dudley
    JulieKay Dudley says:

    I agree, while I am not on the spectrum, my 29 yr old daughter is. I have also done LOTS of research (I’m a bit of a research nerd anyway) on Autism, have heard and seen so much of what I call “snake-oil” remedies. I do try to educate when I hear misinformation, and it does get exhausting even for me, but I can only imagine how frustrating and exhausting it is to someone on the Spectrum who is able to engage in the discourse. I felt your frustration in your well written and thoughtful piece.

  2. Shamanka
    Shamanka says:

    I’m on the spectrum and I find that certain people will always make ignorant comments and they’re not confined to the autistic community but can be on any topic at all. My own mother makes incredibly ignorant comments and I’ve learned to just let them go. We can’t change the way other people are but we can change our reactions. I find that with all the other difficulties my autism brings, I don’t want to add rage at the ignorants to them.


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