A Glimpse into our autism: Cure

20 June 2018

Dear Friend,

Yesterday she rang me with good news.
There is a cure for autism. I read about it in the Times.
I quickly changed the subject.

Autism is often in the news. The press seem to particularly like the good news stories, from the child who suddenly begins to speak to the miracle stories of some 'Outgrowing their autism' and the success of a new treatment or a revolutionary diet.

Something about this 'miracle cure'  type of story just makes me feel uncomfortable. 

I know that some parents/grandparents/families of autistic children will have excitedly watched the news or read an article to find out about a potential treatment hoping that their child/grandchild/relative will have the same success.
Let's be clear here. There is no cure for autism. 

People are always looking for the single magic bullet that will totally change everything. There is no single magic bullet. 
- Temple Grandin

My child is not  ill, autism is not a medical condition. But it is no surprise that the general public view autism as an illness when in the press we regularly see phrases like; 'the autism epidemic', 'autism disease' and 'disorder'. Mainstream theories still present autism via a deficit model. Autistic does not mean less.

We have to stop seeing autism as an illness and see it as a natural variation or a different way of thinking.

Whilst most autism research continues to be funded by the pharmaceutical industry (with I would argue a vested interest in medical cure) we will see little change.

Autism is what is known as an ‘all pervasive condition, which means it affects every bit of the person. There is no part of the way that my son thinks or feels that isn’t affected by autism to some degree or another. To ‘remove’ the autism from an autistic person would change everything they are, which is why the search for a ‘cure’ is such a controversial subject.

What message would I be giving my son if I spent my life searching to cure him or to modify his behaviour? You need to be made better? You are broken? You are doing something wrong? For a child already suffering with low self esteem this could be dangerous!

I am not looking for a pill (or anything else) to take my son's social difficulties away or help him understand his emotions. My cure is acceptance and a whole lot of love.

Yesterday she rang me with good news.
There is a cure for autism. I read about it in the Times.
I quickly changed the subject.

A glimpse into autism is a series of short letters that explore the impact autism has on our family on a day to day basis. Disclaimer: this is our experience not all autistic people are the same.

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