A little misguided

Just for kicks, I recently went and Googled “autism cure” and was interested in what I found.  There are several sites that proclaim that either they 1) know the cure for autism or 2) are helping raise funds to find the cure.

The notion of a cure for autism spectrum disorders is a little misguided to me.  First, to be something that can be cured, autism would have to be a disease; autism spectrum disorders are not diseases.  You either have an austism spectrum disorder or you don’t.  You don’t develop autism like you would cancer or heart disease.  Autism spectrum disorders are neurological in nature, diseases are pathological in nature.  Giving an autistic individual or their family hope that a “cure” is out there is a little cruel.  Besides, would you know the former autistic person once they were cured?  Autism spectrum disorders help shape who that person is, and how they interact (if they interact).

And to paraphrase Temple Grandin, why would we want a cure for autism?  Maybe the most extreme cases where the person is low-functioning, but even then I don’t see the need for a “cure.”  One of my favorite quotes/writings from Temple Grandin says “…after all, the really social people did not invent the first stone spear.  It was probably invented by an Aspie who chipped away at rocks while the other people socialized around the campfire.  Without autism traits we might still be living in caves.” (Thinking In Pictures, page 122).  I don’t know how I can do justice in expanding on what she said.  Some of the most important, ground-breaking discoveries and inventions over the course of human history can likely be attributed to an individual with autism…someone with a laser focus that is unconcerned with how high they climb up the social ladder.

I hope that no cure is ever found for autism.  We would not know who Kaitlyn was if she were suddenly not an Aspie.  I am all for continued and expanded funding for autism research and therapies, but let’s stop short of curing something that really does not need to be cured.

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