Sunday, March 2, 2008

"Curing" Autism

There is so much fervent talk about curing autism. It seems that if, as a parent, you don't put every ounce of your energy into "curing" or "recovering" your child, you have failed.

I believe there currently is no "recovery" right now for most of our children, and that there won't be a cure in this generation's lifetime. To some, that belief means I'm not "doing everyting I can." I'm not "fighting the war" on autism, I'm "giving up hope." But as my dear late father would say, "I'm not a pessimist, I'm a realist." Besides that, who and what are we fighting this "war" against? It's beginning to feel to me a lot like a war against my son and who and how he is, not a war against something that's bringing him harm.

Our children are not deaf - they hear us talk about them, and we talk constantly! I believe most of them understand what's being said and after a while, it must sound to them like they are bad, they need fixing. The Internet is full of adults who angrily call their parents "curebies" and hate them for what they've done in the interest of curing them.

The problem I have with people intent on cures and "doing everything they can for their child" is that they are NOT "doing everything they can for their child." "Doing everything that they can for their child" would involve spending half of that fervent energy on making that child's life, as it is with autism, happy, comfortable, and containing a future -- just in case autism isn't cured in their lifetime. Focusing on a cure alone suggests that there is no future without a cure, there is no happiness without a cure, the person with autism is not good enough without a cure.

Because I have decided to give up on the burden of maintaining a GFCF diet that hasn't netted any measurable results, because I haven't tried chelation or hyberbaric, it's suggested by some that I'm "not doing everything for my child." On the contrary, allowing my child to BE and be happy and accepted and not turn him into my own personal science experiment IS doing everything I can. Don't misunderstand me: I do think we need a cure. This disorder is VERY tough on family and society. But it's not cancer, which is a disease that can kill a person, and an unwelcome assault on the body. Autism is, to those personally affected, a way of being, and who wants to be told they must essentially change to be accepted? We must put as much energy into planning and preparing for a future for our children AS THEY ARE as we do to figuring out why this "epidemic" is happening.