Saturday, April 23, 2011
If there were a pill...
...to treat autism, would you give it to your child/take it? What about a cure?
It's a question that comes up on every autism forum at some point.
When I started this journey, it made me angry (Embarrassingly, I dropped a friend online over the basis of my anger). I felt like autism WAS JT. All of him. My answer was "Of course not!! Why would you EVER do that?"
As time has passed, and (more honestly) I have met people who have challenged my way of thinking, my view has changed.
Let's compare autism to any other disorder - depression maybe? Bipolar? Or multiple sclerosis? Does treating the cause of the disorder change the person?
Someone who is bipolar or depressed takes medication to stabilize their moods. Does that make them less of 'themselves'? They treat the negative aspects of their disorder, and yes, sometimes they give up some of the 'gifts' (most amazing poetry is written during depression!) - but the scale of 'worth it vs not' on the med scale is overwhelmingly 'worth it'. Autism is not a mental health disorder, but in terms of just treatment, I feel it would be the same - the payoff of taking something to treat the negatives, even if it dulled some of the positives, would be worth it.
Autism is NOT all of JT. Just as depression, bipolar, or something like MS, is NOT the whole person. It is a piece of you, but that doesn't mean that treating it will change all of you. You are still inherently you (like it or not in some cases, haha!). JT would still be JT, with or without the autism.
Imagine my son not having speech issues, his irritability that he can't convey why that lead to meltdowns, his sensory issues...
He would still be JT.
So the 'autism cure'... would you cure autism? People get so offended, saying that we would just get rid of them... I *was* one of them! But I see it differently, now. Would I cure autism? Yes. I would not get rid of autistics - and of course, no one would force them into anything.
But if I could make life easier for my son... in any way, I would do it. In a heartbeat.
Not because I don't accept his autism (hello, I'm the genetic culprit - I'd join in on the autism-pill-taking :) ). It's not that I want to erase differences in neurology/personality. It's that I want to treat the *extreme* to put them back in the normal range. Not make him class president - make him able to sit in a typical, mainstream classroom without struggling with everything BUT the material.
It comes down to just a general parenting question: What parent wouldn't move heaven and earth to make their kid's life easier?
(oh... and to everyone who challenged my view... thank you :) You can find all my intelligent and awesome friends in The Autism Experience book - along with our family).