Saturday, April 6, 2019

The Autism Debate (Part 1): Does Autism Need a Cure? (Podcast)

While y'all are waiting for my documentary upload (I'm smoothing out the details), check out this interesting poll posted by AutismTalk on whether we should be researching a cure for autism.

I saw it around when it was first posted, it was around 80% "Yes" and 49% "No." I watched the comment section for a while as autistic people posted their thoughts and many were incredulous at the numbers (I was surprised too as AutismTalk appeared to be a pro-Neurodiversity page), and the numbers changed after a few hours. Wow! Here is the final result.

There is a still a ton of controversy surrounding the idea curing autism. Many autistic people lean towards "no, we don't support a cure" because autism is neurological, it's how our brain develops, and--for many of us--our identity. It's an issue of "is it even possible?" and if it is, "should we?"

On the other hand, many parents and caretakers of autistic people--especially if they are neurotypical and have mostly encountered autistic people with more problematic behaviors and higher support needs--might say "yes, we support a cure." They see the suffering of "low-functioning" autistic people and wish for them to live a full and normal life.

There are also some autistic people who DO want a cure and NT parents/carers who support Neurodiversity, so it's not always neatly divided between autistics vs. neurotypicals.

A couple questions this debate sparks in my brain:
1. To what extent should we enforce an idea of "normal" behavior?
2. How do we define "normal?" What does it mean to "live a full life?"
3. If we found a cure, would we be curing autism or just the negative side effects?

Stay tuned: I will address each of these in my next series of posts, "The Autism Debate."

1 comment:

  1. I don't think it's an all or nothing deal. We should support finding a cure for some of the most problematic SYMPTOMS of autism, but the thing itself has numerous positive aspects.

    I say this as the mother of an autist, and the daughter of one, and possibly two, undiagnosed others.