Oftentimes, there seems to be a dichtomy between those autism advocates who want treatment, and those who want the autistic to be accepted. Usually, parents of people with more severe autistic symptoms and/or intellectual disability want their autistic to be cured, while those autistics with more intellectual and communicative abilities advocate acceptance. This is not always the case, of course, but often it is. Therefore, it is somewhat understandable that autism parents tell autistics that we are not like their child.
What I want to discuss in this post, however, is whether treatment and acceptance are truly mutually exclusive. Of course, a cure that will fundamentally change a perosn’s information processing, is contradictory to accepting that processing difference. However, at this point there is no such cure, like genetic engineering or neurological rewiring, which is what it would take to make autism go away entirely.
Do these autism parents who advocate cure, truly want their child’s every autism symptom to go away/ I do not know, but it is possible that what they truly want to go away are certain aspects of autism that are debilitating to the child. I do not disagree with this. I, too, take medication to help curb my irritability, for example.
Truly, would you want your child’s autism to go away if it made them a very much in their interest invested professor, if a quirky one? It is known that Temple Grandin is autistic, and yet she reached Ph.D. status. If I have to believe her own statements, this is largely due to her special interest and her good ability to empathize with animals. The same likely goes for other “higher-functioning” autistics, but then again these are discredited for disagreeing with the curebies.
Now I get to acceptance. As I wrote in a previous post, accepting the person is different ffrom accepting their every behavior. Hardly any autistic would want themselves or another autistic to be continually aggressive or self-injurious. Also, most parents tht I’ve met online who advocate treatment for their children’s autism, actually love their children to pieces. There are a few who wish their autistic child were taken back by the changelings, so to speak, but these are rare.
So really, is it hypocritical to want treatment for autism if you want to be part of the autistic acceptance movement. While a complete eradication of autism, and thereby autistics, is contrry to acceptance, treatment for the most severe and disabling symptoms, is absolutely not. And this is where views often clash: those with more severely autistic children, want to pretend that treatment will eradicate all autism, and they at the same time pretend that those who disagree, are not autistic at all. Well, fine with me. If you want your child to be like me in terms of functioning, that’s okay, but that is not curing them.
ETA: with my sentence about my understanding that parents want their kids to function like me, I didn’t mean to place myself above autistics who appear to be “lower-functioning”. I realize that’s how it comes across. I do want to say that I understand, for example, that parents want their children to have a meaningful way of communicating or have minimal aggressive or self-injurious behavior. I do not feel that any autistic should be forced into neurotypical appearance.