My Life Before Being Diagnosed With Autism

My Life Before Being Diagnosed With Autism

aaliyahholt January 25, 2020

In my book, things were rough prior to my autism diagnosis. ADHD and autism are very alike which in some cases, your son/daughter might get misdiagnosed. This was my case. What do my folks do? Send their special needs kid to a freaking Catholic school with zero support. They wondered why I was ‘acting up.’ There were no in-school social workers, I had no accommodations on my school work as I had in grade school, Jr. High and high school. I live in the US and our system is different for international readers.  There was no quiet space I can go to if I needed it. Sending me to a school with no support is no different than sending a kid in a wheelchair to a school with no ramps.

Who told my folks it was a good idea to send their special needs child to a Catholic school where NO ONE has any training on how to deal with kids with disabilities.

What would you expect being in a religious school with no support and no one who knows how to help special needs kids? They punished me for my meltdowns. I wouldn’t have been ‘bad’ if I was placed in a school with the support I needed. I admit I did misbehave at times that didn’t involve my unknown autism. 90% of the time I ‘acted up’ were actually meltdowns, struggling, etc. I am referring to being punished for slipping grades when I was not being taught how I can learn. 

 I wouldn’t have been ‘bad’ if I was placed in a school with the support I needed or if the teachers had an aid of some sort.

When I was in Kindergarten, my folks tried calling a guy they knew with a dog to ‘scare me into doing right.’ I used to be scared of dogs and my grandma exploited my fear to her advantage along with the rat thing I will mention. Again I was 4/5 when this happened I don’t remember all the details. I am going to guess the guy who owned the dog didn’t know my folks’ ‘plan.’ Kids like playing with dogs so maybe he thought that was the situation. When I saw the guy w/ the dog getting out of his car I started crying because I thought that was it. Don’t my folks hear in the news of kids getting seriously injured or killed from dog attacks? My folks said it was a plan to ‘scare me into doing right’ kids are naive at times. I think my folks didn’t think their evil plan through. My crying should have told my folks they took their ‘plan’ too far. They took it too far from the get-go using a DOG to ‘make someone do right.’  

That’s literally something you DON’T do. Autism and ADHD are Neurological. My grandma’s ‘plan’ to make me ‘act right’ wasn’t gonna fix a genetic disorder! We used to get rats and my grandma wanted to put me in the room where the traps were set. When my grandma tried getting me to go to the utility/laundry room, where the traps were set, I started crying. I’m thinking, ‘how can my folks do this to someone they ‘love?’ If I had a kid I would NEVER, EVER AS LONG AS I LIVE do that to him/her what my folks did to me. So possibly making your child get rabies/whatever disease rats carry because… When I was in Jr. high, I heard of a case when a baby thew up, the rat thought the puke was food and the rat bit the child and he/she bled a lot. I mean A LOT. Rodents have sharp teeth. Doy.


Exploited my rat fear and used it to her advantage. Also, we had a rat in the ceiling. In the basement, we have removable ceiling tiles and my mom wanted to put me where the rat was for ‘acting up’ if he was in the ceiling there was really nowhere I could run. Even if this is was a tactic to ‘scare me straight,’ making your child think they’re in danger to teach them a lesson is not it. What if your ‘plan’ backfires? How are you gonna explain hurting your child to ‘teach them a lesson.’ That’s like the police paying someone to pretend to rob you to teach you to lock the door. 

One time my mom didn’t let me eat because I ‘acted up.’ EXPLOITING A CHILD’S FEAR AND USING IT TO YOUR ADVANTAGE IS NOT ‘DISCIPLINE.’ Denying basic human needs like food is NOT FUCKING DISCIPLINE.

Taking away TV or video games is one thing but not letting a child eat? What is wrong with you? I sneaked and ate food because I was hungry.  We used to have a closet for food and my grandpa used to buy vanilla wafers and I sneaked and ate those.

Even prison inmates are given 3 meals a day no matter what crime they committed. Even if they weren’t really going to do the rat and the dog thing, remember some kids are young, naive and don’t understand the world yet. What my folks did would cause me to not trust them because I feel the only thing they know is making me think they’re gonna put me in danger to ‘teach me a lesson.’ Putting your kid near a rat when you don’t know where he’s been, does that sound like a smart idea? This would make me live in fear that the one person(s) a kid is supposed to trust would go too far for something minor. My folks acted like I committed mass genocide.

My folks used my fear of rats and dogs for their own selfish game. It took my friend’s dog to kick my fear. While kids loved dogs I was scared of them because of my folks’ stunt. 

AHDH/autism affects your memory. My memory used to be impeccable and that started to change as I grew up.

I innocently forgot to show my mom papers from the school. I wasn’t in trouble but it was about things the school was holding. (eg a book fair) My mom banned me from watching TV for each paper I forgot to show her. She only let me watch TV on weekends and took off one weekend per paper.  Punished, all because of something caused by my ADHD/autism. My mom forbade me from going to Indiana Beach, an annual trip the school did, all because I forgot to show her papers from the school. I was heartbroken. She changed her mind when I passed my science test. The teacher docked a mark because I tried to study before the teacher gave me the test. I had a group and missed my chance with the class. I should have asked the teacher first and went in the hall or in the back of the room. A student could try to cheat off of my notes.  

My mom send me to my aunt’s house when she spent the night with her boyfriend. You think going to another relatives house is fun, well going to my aunts was not fun. Whenever I made a mistake or couldn’t understand what she wanted me to do, because I cannot follow verbal directions, she hit me. One time I was helping her peel an egg. The white part of the egg came off, rather than showing me a better way to peel the eggs, she hit me. I didn’t understand how what I did was bad enough where I should be hit for it. I took abuse from my aunt all because I had an undetected disorder. I saw going to my aunt’s like a punishment because of how I was treated.

My aunt hitting me did not teach me ‘respect.’ Boomers will argue that what I received was discipline. With the egg, depending on how long you boil it the white will come off and/or other factors like how well you soaked them when they finished but to my aunt, it was my fault and I should be hit.  She was making a potato salad and still could have used the egg. It showed me making mistakes is wrong, you’re supposed to be perfect all the time. All I did was I had trouble understanding what my aunt expected from me and to her, that meant I should be hit or I was being ‘disobedient’ she was strictly religious (Jehovah’s Witness). Now putting a child with a learning disability with a religious nut who thinks a neurological disorder means you need discipline is a  good idea because? My mom didn’t make smart moves when I was little yet she criticizes me when I don’t think. It’s possible my aunt hit me so many times is because she thought I was defying her. If she didn’t get the hint that hitting me wasn’t working I really hope she does not become a teacher. 

Most kids would be thrilled about going to their aunt’s house, grandma’s, etc but I would rather go on Survivor than to take abuse from my aunt. I’d rather be on Survivor than to constantly be punished for my autism traits.

 Had my autism been caught when I was little, struggling at a school with no support, abuse from my aunt, being punished for forgetting to show my mom papers, etc probably would have been avoided. My folks thought I was misbehaving when really I was struggling with an undetected disorder.

They were aware of ADHD but did nothing to assure that I have gotten the support that I needed. Maybe it would have been easier to get disability if this was caught sooner. It probably wouldn’t made a difference but I think SSI would have had a better background. 

If my folks couldn’t afford to get me into therapy that’s fine. Taking me out of that private school should have been their first call. You are not protected from discrimination from private schools. I mean if you were to file a report there is a chance nothing can be done if it’s a private school. If it’s a public school you can take it to the superintended. (school district’s boss)

There was a school they wanted to enroll me in but it was full. Did they not ask if the school had a waiting list? If they would have asked and the school had one, the school would have reserved a spot when one opened up and let my folks know.

My folks kept me on punishment all the time instead of trying to get me tested early. If one doctor didn’t work, find someone else who can help. If one method doesn’t work, try something else. At the time my mom and my grandpa were working so it would have been better back then with 2 incomes. My grandma was getting retirement checks so 3 incomes. Punishing a child with ADHD/Autism for melting down is no different than scolding someone for crying for breaking their foot. Like you cry or scream when you break your arm, autistic kids meltdown when the environment they’re in is too much for them. It’s a stimulating response. My folks didn’t know I was autistic at the time. They were aware of the ADHD side but chose not to take action. Meaning finding me a psychiatrist, getting me therapy, meds, etc.  I can’t fully blame them but they shouldn’t have treated me how they did. They can say they’re sorry and they were wrong until the cows come home, it won’t undo how they treated me. People make mistakes but my folks’ mistake scarred me for life. 

Their excuse was they were not educated. What was stopping them from trying to get educated? We live down the street from TWO libraries.

This is why education is important. So many kids are struggling like I did because there is no support. There was no education. If that Catholic school was educated about learning disabilities I would have had a good system.

When I got to to the 4th grade, the teachers picked up on my socializing struggles. Social skills are not our forte. The social worker did an assessment on me and I scored low for the social skills category. Folks with autism have poor social skills. 

One thing you have to understand is a kid melting down is not the same as a kid acting out when they don’t get what they want. My folks just assumed that’s what the case was. What did they expect sending a special needs child with sensory issues to a CATHOLIC school with no support, no one that knows about neurological disorders?

I was on a forum and an autism mom said she was scared to send her autistic child to a religious school because she was scared they’d try to pray autism out of her son/daughter like it’s cancer. 

Sending me to a school with no support or no aid etc It’s like sending me to France but send no one who speaks French to come along with me!

My mom judges me for still wanting to be a kid but my folks made me miss out on things keeping me on punishment. That school had a Disney World trip. My mom was gonna pay for me to go until I ‘acted up.’ I missed out on field trips because of my folks’ lack of autism education. I missed out on the Pumpkin Patch Trip, Winter Wonderland, Disney World, etc. There was one field trip the school was having. I was going to go until ‘acting up.’ My mom forbade me from going and gave my spot to a kid who didn’t send their permission slip in fast enough. I’m sure someone would have made room for that one kid. I missed out on so much because my folks mistook my autism struggles with ‘acting out.’ 

 What the NT teacher thought was talking back was just me getting no support. Not understanding what was happening and why.

One time it was storming. There was a loud boom of thunder that’s spooked, everyone. I had a smile on my face. LISTEN UP. Folks who are anxious may have unusual reactions. Anxious people sometimes may laugh or smile out of nervousness or fright. Autistic people do not regulate their emotions the same as NTs. The smile could have reassured me that I was not the only one scared of the storm. However, the teacher mistook it as me making fun of the class and I was reprimanded.

If you spent most of your childhood on punishment, in and out of foster homes, or the hospital you’d feel you need to make up for what you missed. Cut your childish friend some slack. If my folks didn’t know, they didn’t know. If my mom spanked me 20 times had no effect that should have been a telltale sign what she did was not working. It’s the same as using a lotion would you keep using the lotion if it gave you a rash?

I mean if there was more research done about autism then how my folks treated me wouldn’t have happened because they would have known more. This is more of a lesson for parents who may have a child with autism. What my folks did to me will not help and will just add more fuel to the fire. My folks didn’t know, they were uneducated. That’s still no excuse to treat me how they did. Using my fears to scare me into ‘acting right,’ what kinda monster does that to a CHILD? Teaching kids boundaries is one thing but using their fears is just not, it’s sick. Instead of trying to GET educated, they continue to try these failed methods. It took my mom to realize I could be autistic when I was in the 8th grade before I graduated. So from pre-k to the 8th grade was a struggle. You can’t just jump it can take years to get evaluated. I should have been taken out of that Catholic school at least.

Here is the video version. Subtitles are provided via YouTube. I know I can’t go back in time and reclaim what I lost but no child should go through what I did due to the parents’ failure to get them the right support or the school not taking the right steps. Or whatever the situation is. When I left that Catholic school and moved to the suburbs, unlike St. Helena (the Catholic school), when I melted down the 4th-grade teacher, sent me to the social worker or pulled in the hall to talk to me. She assessed the situation. There were things she still didn’t know but she understood once my mom filled her in. I was never misbehaving, just not getting the correct support at the time.  If something isn’t working, why would you keep doing it?

One thought on “My Life Before Being Diagnosed With Autism

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