Santosg wrote:You have an ideological opposition to attempt to cure autism. At one level, I understand that you don't believe that autism has a cure and therefore attempts to cure it are fraudulent.
My ideological position -- since there is no cure for autism, anyone claiming to cure autism is a fraud. Potentially risky, invasive, and/or painful experimentation on children with disabilities is not some noble endeavor by persecuted mavericks in their quest to "find a cure."
I’ve seen this several places, like here
, and it probably represents my position on the issue of “cure:”
Our understanding of autism has grown tremendously since it was first described in 1943. Some of the earlier searches for “cures” now seem unrealistic in terms of today’s understanding of brain-based disorders. To cure means “to restore to health, soundness, or normality.” In the medical sense, there is no cure for the differences in the brain which result in autism. However, we’re finding better ways to understand the disorder and help people cope with the various symptoms of the disability. Some of these symptoms may lessen as the child ages; others may disappear altogether. With appropriate intervention, many of the autism behaviors can be positively changed, even to the point that the child or adult may appear to the untrained person to no longer have autism. The majority of children and adults will, however, continue to exhibit some symptoms of autism to some degree throughout their entire lives.
Santosg wrote:But the movement in the 'there is not cure for autism' has moved in a different direction. It claims, boldly, that autism itself is just a 'different type of brain,' no better and no worse. These individuals dismiss talk about finding cures for autism in the same way some members of the deaf community feel it is wrong to give deaf children cochlear implants, since there is nothing wrong with being 'deaf.'
The concept of neurodiversity has been around for quite some time. I understand that some parents may feel their child's challenges are minimized by some advocates of ND, and I do not feel that any one person on the spectrum can speak for every other person's experience.
However, in my mind, the concept of acceptance is not mutually exclusive of doing what is ethically possible to help mitigate the challenges
. The usual accusation that parents who accept their child's autism do nothing is not true.
Santosg wrote:For instance, in the comment section of this topic on Left Brain Right Brain, that I'm sure is among your favorite medical blogs, you can read the comments of Judith. The completely illogical and idiotic way that Judith examines this problem is so stunning it needs to be quoted at length.
I'm not responsible for someone else's comments on a blog. If you want to take on Judith's opinion, you could do it there. I do like LBRB, it is written by a father who has a son with autism, and he is consistently accurate with facts.
Santosg wrote:When we come to treat autism as natural and simply a normally occurring difference within human populations, we're going to stop funding research that could actually address it fundamentally. You know that Winnie, but you are fine with it, since it fits your ideological outlook. Just come out and say that. Don't act naïve.
I haven't noticed any decline in the number of research articles and studies about treating autism or effective interventions over the years as a result of Neurodiversity. Really, advocates of ND have been around for quite some time. Using your deaf community analogy, research on cochlear implants did not go unfunded due to objections of some in the deaf community.
Santosg wrote:At some level, all interventions that try to 'treat autism' are trying to cure it. ABA and speech are trying to address and improve language deficits, ideally until they are neurotypical. In that way, one can make a legitimate claim that ABA is trying to 'cure' autism.
If you believe that mitigating the challenges is the same as a cure, then you could make that claim. There is not a cure that renders people with autism neurotypical, and I don't believe that "recovery" means the individual's brain becomes
neurotypical. The research seems to be showing this -- as do the outcomes of high-profile and much promoted kids who were advertised as "completely recovered" when they were young.
Santosg wrote:And that's the point, that's what made Lovaas so effective. They were not trying to coddle, to handhold, or to hold parades. They were trying to give young children a chance to live a full life. Lovaas was incredibly effective, but his methods are no longer 'legitimate.'
The Lovaas methods that are no longer used were abusive -- read the Life Magazine article
-- perhaps you can understand why this is so offensive – especially to people with autism. Really, read it. There is no evidence that his methods were more effective when he slapped and abused children.
Santos, we all evolve during the journey of raising our children, and our experiences along with what we learn along the way shape our evolution. Have you ever thought about how you will explain autism to your son in the future (assuming he is not cured)? Would you tell him that you hate autism and he needs to be cured? Would you want him to blame himself for the problems of those around him? Would you want him to see things like this online (from the ominous Autism Speaks “I Am Autism” promotional video, around 7 years ago):
[…]And if you’re happily married, I will make sure that your marriage fails.
Your money will fall into my hands, and I will bankrupt you for my own self-gain.
I don’t sleep, so I make sure you don’t either.
I will make it virtually impossible for your family to easily attend a temple, birthday party, or public park without a struggle, without embarrassment, without pain.
You have no cure for me.
Your scientists don’t have the resources, and I relish their desperation. Your neighbors are happier to pretend that I don’t exist—of course, until it’s their child.
I am autism. I have no interest in right or wrong. I derive great pleasure out of your loneliness.
I will fight to take away your hope. I will plot to rob you of your children and your dreams. I will make sure that every day you wake up you will cry, wondering who will take care of my child after I die?
And the truth is, I am still winning, and you are scared. And you should be. [...]
Just food for thought.