We all have our own hot topics, buttons that when pushed cause a visceral response. For me, making judgments about people who are different for whatever reason, hits too close to the heart.
From my experience in the field of special education, I remember each and every child, teenager, and adult who relied on the Americans with Disabilities Act and whatever accomodations helped them get through each day.
Early intervention, particularly but not limited to autism, is crucial. Many parents are in denial, or don't see the warning signs, especially in infants who develop in unpredictable but varied ways, sometimes taking their own sweet time to reach the milestones given in the numerous child development books available to parents. One might expect that pediatricians are trained to look for the warning signs. With the exception of Down syndrome, which has very specific visual signs, many brain-related diseases are not initially detected and diagnosed in infants. (I worked privately with one family who had two sons with autism. Sadly, the pediatrician told the mother, "Boys develop later than girls, don't worry." Valuable time was lost getting both boys the help they needed.)
Thus, when there is a delay in treatment or therapy (physical, occupational, mental) that could make a significant difference in the person's ability to navigate through a world many people take for granted, the situation is much harder. As far as drugs prescribed or doctors who are known to overdiagnose, or worse yet misdiagnose disabilities, I personally know three different school nurses from three different middle-to-upper class public school systems in New Jersey. It's common knowledge amongst these school nurses, that some children are indeed on medication for mental or behavioral reasons legitimately. It's also well known that some parents push for a diagnosis for exactly the reasons cited. And everyone knows which local doctor diagnoses ADD, ADHD, or dyslexia at the drop of a prescription pad.
In my experience, there is a reluctance to use medication in very young children while their brains are still developing at the fastest rate, unless the disability they have involves seizures. (Most medications are tested on adult males, hence the warnings on everything for pregnant women and young children of either gender.) When I worked full-time in special education, the school used behavior modification, in addition to medications, as needed. This was with middle school aged children, who could not function even with accomodations in a normal school setting. I'm talking 13 year olds, many of whom were more like kindergarten level, in terms of reading, writing, and mathematics. Hormonally, they acted just like ordinary 13 year olds. None of them liked taking medication.
Create a system and there will always be people who exploit it. Consider the parents who take Adderall or Ritalin, prescribed for their child, so that the parent stays fashionably thin and has more energy. Taking medication that is not precribed for you is a felony, and yet people do so. Parents do this and they don't talk about it, but some end up getting caught. Second to my button for children and teens with disabilities is my concern for the parents. Again, I'm speaking from my own experience in meeting with parents or grandparents or legal guardians, the ones who genuinely fight for help for their child. This is a war that rips apart marriages and changes lives irrevocably.
The overwhelming majority of those pre-schoolers, up to high school, college and beyond, who genuinely need accomodations have to go through exhaustive screening and testing, mandatory meetings once the IEP is in place. I have sat in on these meetings and it always shocked me that there was at least one teacher or administrator who thought "the problem will go away", or attributed the behavior to "being in a rock band" or "playing video games." I am dead serious. It was infuriating and embarrassing to the child, who hated having to attend these meetings.
In conclusion, even if the disability is emotionally based, as in cases of severe childhood trauma or abuse, it often manifests biologically and neurologically, becoming part of who the person is, peaking at intervals of normal human growth. Relatively recent research shows that human brains continue to develop well past twenty five or thirty years of age.
***(I realize I may be putting my life in jeopardy by responding to a person who has such a fondness for weapons but I hope he doesn't take this personally.)
***The above statement was not intended as a dig or insult. I was merely reacting to something I have strong feelings about.