As a teenager on the autism spectrum, I feel deflated when I stumble across articles centered around some ‘wonder drug’ that’s claimed to cure autism. One of my pet peeves is the fact that people treat autism as an illness or inferiority that needs to be cured.
My head fills with a variety of questions:
Why would anyone want to cure autism?
How can people be so hateful?
I believe it’s ignorant that individuals are more interested in curing us rather than taking the time to understand us and accept us for who we are. Autism is a neurological difference so it’s not a disease; this basic fact makes all the difference (well, to me it does).
We are wired differently to neurotypicals. If people took the time to understand that, maybe they’d actually accept that autism is not a disease.
Maybe then they’d embrace us and feel the need to accept us.
Maybe then they’d stop categorizing our difference as an epidemic and actually educate themselves on Autism rather than expect those on the spectrum to do it for them.
I understand that raising a child who is pre-verbal and finds it hard to cope with change and sensory input, in particular, can be challenging for the parents.
I acknowledge the everyday struggles these families must face, and I admire the parents who strive to advocate and do the absolute best for their children. Believe it or not, I was in a regression phase when I was diagnosed (at 3) but I now have learned to cope and to cater for any difficulties I may have.
Sure, I get it’s difficult for the families, but my sympathy ends when I find articles promoting a wondrous cure. It’s insulting for everyone on the spectrum that we’re viewed as inferior due to a difference in brain wiring (something we can’t control, something you can’t cure because it’s how we’re meant to be). We aren’t broken so we shouldn’t be fixed.
In my opinion, it’s child abuse to experiment on autistic children by shoving pills down their throat. When I see parents giving their children chlorine-based acids to ‘cure’ their condition, it makes me so sad. When the children start to deteriorate from these dangerous solutions, it annoys me when parents wonder what’s wrong when their children start defecating bowel lining.
Children aren’t guinea pigs and shouldn’t be exposed to these ‘cures’.
I understand that parents struggle to watch their children regress. I get that adults may feel down after they’re refused a job due to poor interview skills. Autism provides those on the spectrum (children and adults alike) with a variety of difficulties each day, but they’re doing their best to overcome them. There are various interventions already available to help autistics cope with day-to-day challenges…a cure definitely isn’t one.
If individuals stopped spreading false information on autism, I think parents wouldn’t feel influenced to take all autism “facts” at face value.
If people took the time to actually learn about autism, there wouldn’t be so much false information. Maybe individuals like Wakefield and Donald Trump wouldn’t be so influential on the general public (especially the parents who try these cures).
In a nutshell, we need people to educate themselves.
Maybe then the public wouldn’t be so easily influenced to experiment with these ‘cures’.
By Cerian Jones.