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Do You Think We Should Cure Autism If We Could?
Should We Cure Autism if Given the Chance?
Would you cure autism? I have talked to so many people about this topic. It is a controversial topic amongst the autism community and sometimes people are very sensitive when defending their position. If we cured autism, then we would prevent a lot of pain and suffering for many people and their families affected by autism. We would take away a lot of anxiety for parents who often go to sleep at night wonder what will happen to their child when they are gone. We really solve a lot of problems with a cure.
Like anything else though there are so many components to this story. The other side of the story is that there are so many positive things about autism that you might be taking away from someone’s life if you were to cure their autism. The question always comes up. Would you take a pill to cure your autism if you could? It is something to consider.
This is a very sensitive topic because in some ways autism is a huge part of who someone is. When we think of people’s social behavior we quickly realize that this is something that makes up a huge part of someone’s life and this is who they are. Why then would anyone want to cure who they are because there is absolutely nothing wrong with who they are?
There are certain parts of autism that I would cure. There are other parts of autism that I would not cure. If it were only as easy is going in and fixing all the bad things about autism while leaving all the good things about autism alone then that would be great but its not that simple. Autism is complex and treating autism is even more complex.
The answer to if we should cure autism or not is it depends upon how autism is affecting your life. When we talk about autism as being a part of who we are then we really must be careful where we draw a line. At what point does autism impact our lives so much that it does become a disability and is no longer a fun part of who we are? Could you look someone who is non-verbal in the eyes and tell them I’m sorry but not being able to talk is a part of who you are. In some ways that is an exact part of who they are but in other ways we must remember that they are only non-verbal because of a disability issue. If that person would like help and would want to be cured of their autism because it is a disability issue for them that prevents them from being who they are then by all means, we should allow that person to try and be cured of autism.
Then there is high functioning. The people who are higher functioning tend to believe that autism is a part of who they are. Now we do not know for sure if people who are low functioning think autism is a part of who they are or not because they are unable to communicate with us. Another thing to keep in mind is that all high and low functioning means is are you verbal or are you non-verbal. That is the only conclusion we can make by describing someone as being high functioning or low functioning with autism.
But people who are verbal and have ways of communication more so than those who are non-verbal often feel like their autism is a huge part of who they are. Sometimes people with Autism who are verbal get very defensive when someone starts talking about a cure because they feel like a cure would change who they are and make them a different person.
There is a lot to take in on this topic because we have different functioning levels. We need to start looking at functioning levels instead of functioning levels. We need to know exactly what a person can and can’t do to help them improve their quality of life.
The answer to this question is different for everyone. Some people with autism would choose being cured and some people with autism would choose to not take a pill that would cure them of their autism.
A major thing that we must start defining in autism is at what point do the symptoms of autism create a disability. At what point does someone become disabled because they cannot function? Perhaps it is that very point where people to the right or people who are above the point of disability would not like to be cured and people to the left of the point on the math line segment graph would want to be cured.
With autism we have this big spectrum and we can represent this segment as a math line segment with two arrows, one on each end. Everyone in the world is somewhere on the autism spectrum. Yes, even neurotypicals are on the autism spectrum.
To answer our question, we must determine at what point on that line segment does autism g from symptoms being a part of who you are to symptoms being a disability that prevents you from living a meaningful life.
We also must get more in depth and look at different perspectives. So, we have an individual with autism and his parents along with the support staff that works with the person with autism. Whose definition of disability should we use? If we were to ask the person with autism, his parents, and each staff member to plot a dot on the line segment at the point in which they thought autism became a disability instead of part of who the person with autism was then we would likely wind up with three different line segment graphs that would place the pivot point between autism being a part of who someone was to autism being a disability.
It is encouraging to know that some people in the service world understand that the only viewpoint regarding this definition of what is disability and what is not disability that matters is the viewpoint of the person with autism.
When we ask people with autism if they want to be cured from their autism we should always ask them. The question is not for therapist, parents, and doctors. The decision is up to the person with autism spectrum disorder.
It is very tricky to define the exact point on the math line segment that autism becomes a disability because there are so many contingencies and variables. What seems to be high functioning to one person might not be high functioning to another person. One person with autism might have higher expectations for their life than someone else with autism might have. The point is that we are striving to provide a service world in which we run services off person centered planning that we feel can help the client with autism to achieve the best possible quality of life that they can attain with having autism.
When debating about curing autism it is not a black and white area. It is a very grey area with lots of feelings involved. We would not ever want to force a cure down upon anyone at all. Also, we would not want to prevent someone from being cured if that is what they wanted to achieve out of their autism.
The real answer to this question of topic is that there is no right or wrong answer because the answer should always be person centered and catered to the needs and desires of the person who has autism.