May 19
earleyg's picture

Should We Cure Autism Or Not? – Speech Class


The debate about whether there should be a cure for autism or not has taunted both sides with theories and fears. In 2009, the United Kingdom's Advertising Standards Authority negatively called out the Son-Rise program, a center that mentors parents about autism and treatments, because of an ad that made them sound like they could "cure" autism. Yet between 3-25% of people seemingly "outgrow" their diagnosis, meaning that the autistic label becomes inappropriate.

A boy named Raun was diagnosed with autism when he was 18 months old. Though their physician told them that there was little the family could do for him, his parents refused to accept the statement. Instead, Raun's mother joined her son in his behavior, which opened a whole new door for both of them. Raun began to speak, eat on his own, and interact with family members. After years of working with him, Raun himself had seemingly "outgrown" his previous diagnosis. Was he cured? Or did he simply outgrow his autistic behavior? Researchers say that people like Raun have an "optimal outcome", meaning that even though their brains are still technically hardwired to be autistic, they can virtually become indistinguishable from neurotypical people.

I for one do not think that a cure is necessary. Autism is not a disease, but a different wiring of the brain. Admittedly, the word "disorder" often gives ASD a negative ring, which might prompt a few to investigate a cure, however there is no need to treat a different and potentially advantegous way of thinking. ASD stands for autism spectrum disorder, spectrum being the key word. No one with autism is the same; no one has the exact same symptoms, which contributes to forming one's personality and lifestyle. If you were to take autism away from someone, you'd be left with a stranger; a whole new person. Their likes and dislikes would be altered, their daily routine changed. They would be another ordinary kid, indistinguishable from the person next to them.

It's great to be unique, but it's not great if we are ashamed of an obvious trait that is hard to or impossible to control. We are a society that strives to include and accept everyone for who they are. If we are looking for a cure, then we are not accepting those with ASD, but instead looking for a way to strip them of their personalities. No autistic person is a lab rat who's only purpose in life is to be examined under a microscope or be the victim of unfair remarks they do not even understand. We are not artifacts that need fixing or a sickness that needs curing. If we want a society where everyone is accepted, then we must also remember those who are mentally and physically challenged and include them in our world. Let them discover things at their own pace, and offer them the option of joining in activities. We've made progress with accepting races, religions, genders and colors. Let's open our arms further and embrace an even bigger population. It is a privilege to be welcomed into the abstract world of an autistic mind and an even bigger privilege to be welcomed into the complex maze of society.