I’m not saying this phenomenon is all good or all bad. As with most things, it’s probably a mixed bag. I’ve never seen any of this, but do know that early intervention is key to helping kids on the spectrum lead their best lives and that frequently doctors are not such a great asset. They often aren’t that well informed/educated on this topic and can be dismissive of parental instincts about their own child.

Much has been written recently about how many doctors are dismissive of women’s health concerns in general, so extrapolate that to “hysterical mother” instead of just “hysterical woman” and you’ve got a recipe for disservice, both to the child and to the family. If 1 in 59 children will eventually be diagnosed with ASD, it’s not hysterical to be concerned. For millions of American families, they will not grow out of it, they are not just fine, and addressing those symptoms as soon as possible is critical.

There’s also a huge amount of isolation for autism families (autism moms in particular). Wanting to be connected, wanting people to understand what you everyday life is really like, wanting to bring in a little bit of money to offset some of your costs — those are all very understandable impulses.

A new study in the medical journal JAMA Pediatrics has pegged the total lifetime cost of supporting an individual with an ASD at an astonishing $1.4 million in the United States. If there is also intellectual disability, the total rises even more, to $2.4 million.

It sounds to me like most of these people are just imperfectly muddling along, like the rest of us.

Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

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