We Don’t Need an Autism 'Cure,' but Compassion and Tolerance Would Be Great
This week I got a text message from someone I know alerting me to watch the news because apparently, they’ve found a cure for autism.
This made me angry. And here’s why:
Firstly, it’s insulting to tell someone who is living with autistic family members they love and adore and who are made who they are in their essence by being autistic, that they need curing. Secondly, there is no proven cure for autism; it is a permanent neurological condition.
I’m not saying autism doesn’t have its challenges. It can be hard on everyone. And it is, regularly. Every single day. But being autistic also gives each individual a unique ability to see the world in a way no one else does.
And that makes it incredibly beautiful.
If my husband wasn’t autistic, he wouldn’t be the man I fell in love with. If my 4-year-old wasn’t autistic, she might not ask me, full of awe and wonder, to “look at the magical way the leaves float off the tree” on windy days. If my eldest daughter wasn’t autistic she wouldn’t be the incredibly intuitive person I know and love her to be and she wouldn’t be twice exceptional.
So no, my family doesn’t need “curing.” Thanks.
Perhaps it’s others who need a cure, but is there even a cure for ignorance? I’m not sure there is.
Autistic people don’t need to be “managed.” Autistic people need the society they live in to be compassionate, understanding and willing to work at things from a different angle. Society needs to be more embracing of neurodiversity and learn to see autistic people as strengths, not flaws.
They aren’t broken. But your perception totally is.
Image via Thinkstock.