No, autism isn't a gift—for parents, it's literal hell The media will have you believe autism is just about being a really smart guy with few social skills. It's a lie.

The entertainment industry, allied with know-nothings on social media who will say or retweet anything for a jolt of virtue-dopamine, is advancing a meme best summarized as "autism is a gift." According to the meme – Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory being a good representative – autism is just about being a really smart guy with few social skills.

This couldn't be further from the truth.

I'm dad to an almost five year old son who is diagnosed moderate-severe autistic, and I have the scratches, bite marks, and scars, to prove it. Depending on the spectrum/scale/whatever you use, he would be on ASD 2.5 or something similar.

He goes to school at the elementary school just down the street from us, where he's in something called Child Find, Nevada's public program for early intervention with developmental issues. He is in the Pre-K class, and will be moving up to kindergarten next year. He sees a speech pathologist. Everyone at his school, from principal to janitor, are excellent people who truly care about the children. The three women who run the class he's in, especially, are saints.

But I'm not.

I can't stand that kid.

I seriously can't. The hitting, biting, scratching, crashing down on me WWE style when I'm just trying to sit on the couch. The amount of cuts, bruises, and times he's injured me are getting to be too damn much.

I get that he doesn't get that he's hurting other people. The wiring isn't there.

His older brother who's seven is suffering for it too, since it's constantly a litany of "don't hit back," "don't respond in kind," "it doesn't do any good/he'll just hurt you worse." He's gone from being a sweet, awesome little guy into someone who's majorly angry, a lot, and I can't blame him. I'm right there with him.

His autistic little brother damn near broke my nose headbutting me when I was trying to just get a shirt on him, and I almost blew up and started hitting him. I recognize that it wouldn't do anything other than result in CPS taking him away. But if it was an adult? I'd probably have ended up in jail on assault charges.

He wakes up screaming in the middle of the night, less if he's sleeping in my bed. Right now, his trick is blatantly putting coins in his mouth, and then taking off running when you try to stop him.

And then there's the constant threat of him just taking off. Forgot to set the lock that's out of his reach on the front door? There's a good chance he's taking off outside and booking down the street without the sense that god gave a baby duck. The number of times he's slipped out of my hand and taken off towards the street are too numerous to count at this point.

I'm at the point where I just can't do it anymore.

I feel guilty every time I'm late at work, go to the gym, go run errands, or anything like that since it means my wife has to be home alone with him, putting up with the same behaviors and trying to play referee.

He makes it impossible to do anything, even something as simple as folding laundry, since he just has this compulsion to wreck anything and everything that's organized. The laundry is going to be strewn across the house five minutes later.

If I wouldn't feel like the biggest piece of shit and failure on the planet, I'd say fuck it and leave.

I can understand why there are so many single moms of autistic kids. It's literal hell.

I have the misfortune to live in Nevada, home of the 49th lowest level of compensation for ABA therapy specialists, so the wait lists to start are minimum six months, more realistically a year plus depending on who you can see with your health insurance. But, of course, there's no cure for autism.

And the best part? I can't say a fucking word of this to anyone I know. Because then I'm a horrible person.

Fuck everyone who says that autism is a gift.

Fuck autism.

Update: Here's a heartbreaking story from Arizona that touches many of the same issues. – Editor

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Autism Dad

If I wouldn't feel like the biggest piece of shit and failure on the planet, I'd say fuck it and leave.

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18 thoughts on “<span class="entry-title-primary">No, autism isn't a gift—for parents, it's literal hell</span> <span class="entry-subtitle">The media will have you believe autism is just about being a really smart guy with few social skills. It's a lie.</span>”

  1. I'm the parent of a grown autistic son who liked to hit and bite and scream - a real joy to take to a public place. About the time he was three years old, I began to spank him for the worst of his transgressions and it was a night and day difference. Break an egg on the floor? Whack. Hit your little sister? Whack! Run into traffic? Whack! I also developed the art of inflicting pain discreetly in public so that the shitheads with CPS on speed dial didn't see anything but an unhappy child being scolded.

    Today he lives on his own, has a driver's license, and a job. He is a pleasure to be with and we have a fantastic relationship - much more so than we would have had he driven me away from home. I had to choose between him being civilized or having his self-esteem potentially damaged - his self-esteem is fine and he is very civilized. If they don't get the message when you talk to them sometimes you have to communicate in terms that they understand - an occasional whack on the buns saved him from being institutionalized. Be a man and deal with this.

  2. ‘It’s so hard having an autistic child’, yeah imagine how hard it is for the actual child to have autism. If you don’t want a disabled child then don’t have children at all

  3. Wow. Someone has to say it, you shouldn't be a parent. My son is 4 with autism and yes, it is tough, but I would chop off my own legs if it meant giving him even the slightest advantage forward in life. I love him unconditionally. I chose to be a parent, I chose him and I choose him, forever. I hope your kid grows up undamaged as much as possible from your obvious uncontrollable anger issues.

  4. Fuck you arsehole. You're not "autism dad". You're ableist allistic dad. No wonder your kid is distressed.
    Sincerely, an actual autistic dad who promises to unconditionally love and care for my baby and future children no matter how much hard work they are (and they could be very hard work whether they're autistic or allistic. I knew that when I decided to have kids).

    • Oh, and this website, whatever it is, should never have published this; it is directly and indirectly harming autistic people for the sake of clickbait.
      Say what you will (and, of course, you will) about autistic people... Most of us wouldn't build a society inaccessible to allistic people and disabling to autistic people, and in a context of huge stigma around allism, write and publish clickbait articles about how it's a literal hell to have allistic people as family members (even though allistic people harm autistic people all the time, systemically as well as interpersonally).

    • So, are you offering to adopt? I'm reminded of the Pharisees who, according to Jesus, laid impossible burdens on the common people that they themselves did not bear.

  5. if my parent wrote this shit about me i would kill them and then myself lmao. imagine loving your kid as a human being instead of thinking of them as a liability

  6. i thought this had to be a satire site what with the other tiktok dances for abortion article but now i see this is just a dumpster fire. every contributor should be eating feces in a sewer

  7. Holy shit, rarely am I this disgusted.

    Please, if you hate your kid this much and have to hold yourself back from child abuse, leave. I promise you he will be better off without you.

  8. And let's not neglect the sexual assaults and even rapes that this kid is going to commit just as soon as his hormones start up.

    It's horrible, and there's nothing you can do.

  9. I don’t have a loved one with autism. But, I did have to care for my mother after routine surgery resulted in her being paralyzed from the waist down. She was a complete energy drain who gave nothing back. I knew she was suffering, but so was I. There were times that I wanted to hurt her just to stope her demands.

    I sympathize because I think I feel very similar to you. She died recently, and I feel free. Not that you are seeking or wanting death, but it is a very hard struggle to care for someone who is ill. It takes a toll on everything.

    In addition to the physical and mental strain, and the costs, there’s some grieving going on too. And it’s legitimate. I am finally starting to attend a support group. The validation is healing.

    I hope that you and your family are able to find some sort of peace . I’ve rambled a bit here. I hope that something gave you some hope.

    • Having to deal with that is so much more painful than any other kind of trauma. Maybe dementia is in the same class also. I feel for you (and Autism Dad) so much.

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