Springingtiger's Blog

A Cure for Autism.

Few things are more certain to divide opinion in the Autism Community than the desire to find a cure. I commented on a post this afternoon  but can I find it now to refer to? No, so if I commented on your post today please send me the link so I can give you a ping back. The post was by a mother of a fairly severely autistic child, she recognised that we high functioning types may not want a cure, but she does. (Here is the link http://twistedandhammered.wordpress.com/2013/04/09/hell-yes-i-want-a-cure/)

She does have a point, it is easy for me not to want a cure, I do not need one. I am now comfortable with who I am, it was not always so. There are several comorbid conditions and symptoms of autism to which I might have welcomed a cure, but on reflection, probably not. It is my experience and that of many people on the spectrum and their families that over time there is improvement. However if someone has a child severely disabled by autism, one can hardly blame them for wanting a cure now; it is all very well pointing to gradual improvement, but parents want a normal child. One problem is that the experience of the autistic person differs from that of the “normal” person observing them, what disturbs the observer may not upset the autistic. This is to some extent the crux of the problem, if a cure to autism were available, would an autistic person want it, and how would one consult them?

My wife’s cousin has Down’s syndrome he has had it for fifty five years, he is capable of all the emotional states anyone may experience, he is capable of great happiness and sadness and can be impossibly stubborn, but he is both loving and well loved. I mention him because now that it is possible to identify whether a child will have Down’s, some parents are opting for a termination.  We may be able to predict that someone will have Down’s, in time we may be able to predict autism, but what we cannot predict is quality of life, or even degree of impairment. Many campaigners against abortion have been disabled from birth, one might argue that it easy for them to argue against terminating the potentially disabled because they are comparatively high functioning.

I worry that should a cure for autism be found, it may be imposed on autistics because of their communication problems. I know that parents will do what is best for their child, but I am concerned that the autistic person may not be consulted. I am even more concerned that when we can identify autism in utero, some parents will opt for an abortion.

2 Comments so far
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Here’s the link: http://twistedandhammered.wordpress.com/2013/04/09/hell-yes-i-want-a-cure/

Thank you for furthering the discussion on this topic. I believe it is important and extremely valuable to see any potentially contentious issue from as many points of view as possible.


Comment by Tammy Thompson-Kliewer

Thanks for responding so quickly. I tried getting back to my original comment by retracing my steroids, but kept arriving in unfamiliar territory.

Comment by springingtiger

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