Friday, April 02, 2010

To the Anonymous Commenter...

Someone sent me a message on the blog to let me know they think Harriet may be autistic. Now after I had stitched up my side from laughing so hard my insides fell out, I thought I should probably let people who read this blog know a few things:
1.) I am paranoid about ASD. And I mean seriously, PARANOID about it.
2.) Harriet's moral guardian (read: 'godmother') works with identifying autistic children and is an expert in her field
3.) Anyone who has met Harriet irl will attest to her highly developed emotional sensitivity - both to others and about herself
4.) I can therefore only assume that the person who left that comment has never met Harriet
5.) I think basing a diagnosis on one aspect of her personality which is only newly developed (I guess that this 'diagnosis' is based on the aspect of my previous post where I said she prefers to play on her own but is fine with adults) highlights the Western penchant for over-pathologising completely normal behaviour (especially in children)

So Lisa, if you think Harriet is autistic, you better let me know. And to the anonymous commenter, although I know your heart is in the right place, please refrain from on-line, anonymous diagnosis of children you haven't met.

Harriet has just spent this evening playing gently with a child 2yrs younger than her in a completely age-appropriate manner for the younger child. She nurtured her play, cared for her concerns and played the part essentially of an emotionally available and caring big sister. She has also started to calm herself down and recognises when she is starting to get unnecessarily upset about an event in order to relax herself down to make an appropriate type of response. I see that as being highly mature for her age and she is anything but ASD. All of which I don't really blog about because it's not really that interesting, but also because finding the time to blog lately is difficult and I tend to focus on topics that are a bit more broad-sweeping.

So anonymous commenter, I hope you continue to read and by doing so I also hope you realise just how misplaced your concern really is.


Sif said...

Oh dear. I always amazes me how quickly people are willing to jump to an amateur diagnosis (because via the internet, that is all this could be), based on bits and pieces they learn through the media (mostly)... Self-diagnosis is a particular bugbear of mine, whether it be people calling themselves ODD or ADD (or whatever) because they are a little obsessive, or find it difficult to make decisions, or whether they are diagnosing their own children prior to any real assessment of the child. This harms the reality of living in this society for people who actually do have a professional diagnosis but aren't taken seriously because "X is massively overdiagnosed these days..." Grrrr, really hit a nerve here!

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about the blogger ! No, Harry does not have Autism Spectrum Disorder in my personal or professional opinion....but then knowing me personally, you know I'd tell you if I thought she did ;-)
...but then you know my opinion on her "gifted & talented traits" which can be just as challenging for others to accept ;-)
As long as she's happy & healthy & continues her ravenous appetite for knowledge, who cares what "anonymous" thnks ? xx Lis
ps I assume you know she isn't getting any spelling or grammar support from this moral guardian

Belinda said...

The joys of the www hey? Some of what you have written about in relation to Harriet reminds me of my Mia. I found a book called 'The highly sensitive child' by Elaine N. Aron, fantastic.

It's helped us as Mia's parents understand life from her perspective a little better.

I think Harriet is delicious and what joy she must bring you.