Why Is the Autism Community Divided?
Do you want to be cured?
Why Are We Divided?
The autism community has always been a very divided community. When we think of other medical diagnosis we often do not see a lot of division out of what people want the outcome of their disorder to be.
Most of the time people want disorders to be cured but this is not the case with autism. While there are many individuals in the autism community who would like to see their autism be cured, there are also many individuals within the autism community who are really into neurodiversity and living with autism the way they are. These individuals would get very upset if you started talking about curing autism around them because autism has become such a huge part of who we are.
Autism is not a major disability for all people. There will be some people who are very high functioning where as autism has not caused an interference in their quality of life. Then there are a lot of people who are low functioning. Think of someone being non-verbal and imagine how that person’s quality of life might have been affected.
Because autism is such a long spectrum of things we will see people who are only minorly affected by autism and then we will see those that are severely affected by autism. Therefore, it makes sense that people with autism would want many different things out of their life.
Autism is different than many other disorders because unlike with cancer everyone doesn’t want to be cured. With cancer people want a cure for that so they will always be united in advocating for a cure because cancer is such a brutal illness and can take your life. Autism likely cannot take your life so people feel very differently about the autism and what they want out of the autism.
Most adults with autism do not want to be medically cured of their disability because they believe that their disability is a huge part of who they are. There are many adults who will get into arguments with parents of young children with autism because these parents have very different views on what they want out of their child’s autism. A lot of parents, especially at first really want a cure for their child’s autism because when autism is first diagnosed it is such a huge adjustment and takes a lot out of a family who is new and trying to advocate everything autism related.
Anytime someone tells you there is something wrong with your child that causes parents to go into a period of grief because every parent wants what is best for their child. It is natural for everyone to react to their autism differently and parents are going to react differently to having a child diagnosed with autism than what an autistic adult me react to their autism.
One thing I don’t like to see as an autism community is once we all divide on the issue we kind of tear each other apart by attacking each other.
I think a lot of times we attack each other in the autism community because we ourselves feel attacked when others disagree with our viewpoint of autism. In some ways maybe we feel insecure because if we were to cure one person with autism that would mean we would cure all people with autism?
The cure is such a sensitive subject that we become very defensive in our advocacy efforts because both people who want a cure and those that do not want a cure are very passionate.
Perhaps this is such an emotional issue because we are taught to think that autism as who we are. Because of that, whenever we begin to talk about changing who we are people are going to become very passionate and very sensitive.
I have seen friendships within the autism community destroyed because of this very issue. I have even seen people try to attack one another and destroy each other’s lives over this issue.
I never dreamed that this would be such a sensitive topic, but I am beginning to understand why it is such a sensitive issue for people with autism.
Growing up because I was not diagnosed with autism no one ever taught me that autism was a part of who I was so when I was first diagnosed as an adult at the age of twenty-two years old I did not think autism was a part of who I was. I thought it was a disability.
It is a daily struggle for me because I go back and forth between thinking that autism is a part of who I am to autism is a disability. I think I feel conflicted sometimes.
None the less there are two very solid viewpoints. There are the people who want to be cured of autism and then there are people who do not want to be cured of autism.
There is a huge movement going on now called the neurodiversity movement. Neurodiversity means that people should always be accepted for who they are no matter what their social skills are like.
Sometimes the division of what we are advocating for hurts our community because no one pays attention to us because they think that we are crazy because we are sending so many different messages because we want so many different outcomes for ourselves because we function at so many different functioning levels with our autism.
This does not make advocating for what we really need easy because sometimes our message is lost in the confusion of what we are all wanting.
This is something the autism community is beginning to acknowledge and work on. We can all want different things without attacking each other for what our beliefs and needs are. I really do not like it when I see adults with autism insulting and attacking parents of children who have autism.
I think it is natural to want different things because of the age difference. Sometimes those parents who have children with autism who want there to be a cure might change their viewpoint as their child ages and becomes an adult.
Either way we should really be able to respect one another’s viewpoints and try to advocate with each other to get everything that we need out of advocating so that all people with autism will be able to live as good of a life as possible.
The goal for the future of autism is for us to stand united, stop attacking each other, and work together on raising awareness about issues that affect all people with autism spectrum disorder.