The Barron Trump Autism Rumor: 3 Critical Facts

Annie Tanasugarn, PhDc, BCBA CEO/AUTHOR, The Autism Analyst
"Autism Awareness simply means to acknowledge that Autism exists; Acceptance is to acknowledge its value."

There has been so much speculation about President Donald Trump’s youngest child, and First Son, Barron as having Autism in recent months that we at The Autism Analyst felt obligated to post our thoughts and concerns about it. There’s little denying the social media frenzy that has popped up regarding Barron – everything from his quirky mannerisms to his impeccably neat appearance. Adding fuel to the social media fire, a simple internet search will pull up globs of information on celebrities who have purported that Barron has Autism, most notoriously being Rosie O’Donnell who eventually offered an apology to Mrs. Trump and the Trump family after the backlash on social media that unfolded. Interestingly (or not?) Rosie also publicly announced very shortly afterward of her own daughter having Autism, in which the internet scoffed at this as little more than Rosie attempting to market herself at the expense of Barron.

We at The Autism Analyst understand that the word “Trump” may trigger a roller coaster of emotions for many. Some of our readers may not approve of President Trump and we value and respect your opinion. However, our focus is not regarding President Trump or his Presidency. Our intention in writing this blog is with respect to President Trump, the First Lady, the Trump family, and their right to privacy regarding their child, in which all families are entitled.

Dozens of videos and news clips purport Barron as having Autism, and as a professional in the industry,  I can appreciate why media has made these claims about the First Son. Some of Barron’s mannerisms and behaviors do in fact seem well, Autistic.

 

Ok, So Does Barron have Autism?

  1. The Rosie O’Donnell No-No. Rosie O’Donnell apologized publically for her accusations about Barron having Autism, but it does not excuse her allegations, nor does it correct any damage she may have caused. By Rosie putting her opinion out there on social media about Barron Trump, she not only caused an aftershock of public backlash, she took the power from President Trump and Mrs. Trump in letting them announce publically whether or not their son has Autism. It is every parent’s right to be the voice for their child on whether or not things like diagnoses, disorders or health problems are highlighted publically. Rosie, you did a big #NoNo.
  2. Eleven-Year-Olds Will Be Eleven-Year-Olds. Barron is eleven. And he acts as most eleven year olds do. He gets bored easily. He gets distracted easily. He would likely rather be playing on an Xbox or with his toys than having to sit (or stand) for Presidential events. All-in-all, he publicly appears to be a well-mannered and well-behaved young man who’s had to adjust to his new-normal with his Dad as President. That would be a huge adjustment for most of us to cope with. Imagine how confusing and strange this is for a child?
  3. Autism Cannot Be Diagnosed on Public Behaviors Alone. At the crux of this issue is how social media has blown up about Barron allegedly having Autism based on little more than his pubic behaviors. Yes, he has been photographed and videotaped dozens – if not hundreds – of times by now, where he’s seen engaging in hand-flapping, staring at the ceiling, and walking in a strange manner. These behaviors alone are not conclusive of Autism. His age, developmental level, social and pragmatic skills, and the environmental context need to be taken into consideration. Remember, he is only eleven years old. And most unsettling for Barron are the possible ramifications of social media making these assumptions about him. At eleven years old, he’s old enough to read, and old enough to understand what is being said about him in the public eye whether or not he has full access to them. These types of allegations without actual evidence supporting them are unfair to Barron and the Trump family. I am not suggesting Barron does not have Autism, nor am I affirming he does have Autism.

As advocates for Autism Acceptance, we at The Autism Analyst strive to be the voice for those who seek to be heard. Our mission is to reach millions of people worldwide and create a community where everyone is valued for their own individuality without labels or societal stigmas. As a culture, we should value uniqueness as a strength and those with special needs as Differently Abled.

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