Thursday, July 28, 2016

Should Autism Be Cured?

Is autism something that should be cured?

That depends on who you ask. I'm sure you can find parents of children who have severe autism who are praying for a cure for autism. But you will also find people with autism who find the very question to be offensive.

I'm in an interesting position as I have a foot in both worlds. Two of my children are severely affected by autism and are living in a group home. We have had many "I hate autism" days in our family. At the same time, I'm on the spectrum and I believe this has helped me to be the person I am and I like the way I am. I wouldn't want to be "cured."

I think there needs to be sensitivity on both sides. We need to respect the pain that families are going through with severe autism. For some, it is ripping their family apart. At the same time, we need to respect the fact that many have embraced their autism as a valuable part of who they are.

We need to acknowledge that some behaviours that can go with autism are dangerous. Our son has almost died because his autism makes him run away and leads him into dangerous situations. Our daughter has been very destructive because of her autism. These are real concerns.

There are no clear answers to this question. The key is to listen to the people involved and respect how they feel and not dismiss their experiences.

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