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Unrealistic Autistic

| Working | April 3, 2016

(My nine-year-old son is a very well-behaved boy and quite smart, which often gets him labeled a “nerd” at school. After a particularly bad bullying incident, I decide to take him to a psychiatrist so he can discuss it with an expert and get some tips on how to cope with bullies.)

Psychiatrist: “Hello. What seems to be the problem?”

(My son is understandably nervous to admit what’s going on and I answer for him.)

Me: “He is getting bullied at school and it’s gotten to the point where there’s nothing I can do about it. I have tried everything I can to help.”

Psychiatrist: “Okay, follow me.”

(She leads my son into a playroom where I and the psychiatrist will observe him through a one-way mirror and then the psychiatrist will enter the room and interview him later. My son gets a book off a shelf and reads it.)

Psychiatrist: “There are so many toys and he wants to read?!”

Me: “Yeah, he reads all the time.”

(My son finishes the book and the psychiatrist enters the room to speak to him. She then goes up to me as if she has something urgent to tell me.)

Psychiatrist: “I’m sorry, but your son is autistic.”

(It should be noted that I’m in college as a psychology major and know my son doesn’t meet the criteria for the diagnosis.)

Me: “What makes you think that?”

Psychiatrist: “He’s very polite and quiet.”

Me: “I’m certain that he isn’t autistic.”

Psychiatrist: “But he said he likes math! I’ll prove he’s autistic. People with the disorder don’t like loud noises.”

(She sneaks up behind my son and screams in his ear which, predictably, scares him.)

Psychiatrist: “See, he’s autistic.”

Me: “My son isn’t autistic, and even if he was, I’m still shocked by how unprofessional you are. Did you even discuss bullying with him?”

Psychiatrist: “This is more important than bullies, and besides, his disorder is most likely the reason he’s being picked on in the first place.”

(I ended up taking my son to a different psychiatrist two-and-a-half hours away, but much better. The new doctor told my son how to deal with bullying and I have noticed he is much happier now. I told this story to the new psychiatrist, who knew her and said she has a reputation for diagnosing anyone she thinks is too much of a goody-two-shoes as autistic.)

This story is part of our Autism roundup!

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