(Inside: Why don’t autistics want a cure for autism? Parents and professionals are often shocked to hear that autistics don’t want to cure autism, but here’s why…)
I talk a lot about the general differences between what autistic adults believe and what parents of autistic children believe.
We prefer identity language while they prefer person-first.
We speak out against ABA therapy while they say it’s the best therapy available.
But one disagreement stands above them all…
Autistics don’t want a cure for autism.
For whatever reason, most parents just can’t understand this one.
In their eyes, their child is truly struggling… Why wouldn’t we want to cure that??
Well, that’s exactly what I’m going to answer in this post. Why don’t autistics want a cure?
(Image description: Woman stands in front of a white background with one hand raised in a confused manner. Teal and coral text reads: “Why Don’t Autistics Want a Cure for Autism?”. Teal and coral Autistic Mama infinity logo in top right corner.)
Why Don’t Autistics Want a Cure for Autism?
Now, let me clear up a few things before I jump in.
First, I understand I’m speaking in generalized terms.
I’m sure you can find a few autistic adults who would support a cure, just like I know for a fact you can find some parents who fight adamantly against a cure.
But the overwhelming majority of autistics don’t want a cure, so forgive me for speaking in the generalities.
With that said.. Let’s jump in! Why don’t autistics want a cure for autism?
#1 Autism is a Part of Our Identity
Autistics don’t see autism as something that’s wrong with us, we see it as a part of our identity.
I am autistic like I am a woman.
I am autistic like I am a mother.
There is no reason to separate autism from our identity, and if I’m being frank, it would be impossible to separate.
There is no part of my life that isn’t different because I’m autistic.
If someone “cured” my autism, so much of what makes me who I am would be lost.
I wouldn’t stim when I’m excited. I wouldn’t see the world in the logical black and white way. I wouldn’t have the compulsion to stand up for what is right, even when it makes others angry.
Autism is my identity, and I wouldn’t be who I am without my autism.
#2 Autism is a Difference of Neurology, Not a Broken Neurology
Another reason that autistics don’t want a cure is that we have a fundamentally different view of autism than most professionals and parents of autistic children.
We don’t see autistic brains as a broken version of normal brains.
Autism is a completely different neurology, it isn’t a broken version of typical neurology.
In theory, if autism was to have a “cure” it would take our autistic brains and turn them into typical brains, but since our brains are completely different that just doesn’t make sense.
Taking this a bit further, I personally believe that autistic neurology is absolutely vital to society.
Autistics add diversity to our society because of the way our brains work, so in my opinion, a cure for autism would be detrimental to society.
#3 Co-Morbid Disorders Aren’t Autism
Okay, if you made it this far you might be thinking, “yeah, but my child…” and end that thought with something like…
- “has debilitating anxiety that disrupts their everyday life”
- “struggles with GI issues that are extremely painful”
- “has seizures that are extremely dangerous”
But I’m going to let you in on a secret… None of those things are autism.
Those are all things called “comorbid disorders”, which is essentially a disorder that happens alongside autism.
So if your child has epilepsy, curing their autism wouldn’t do anything for their seizures.
Most autistics have no problem with people seeking treatments or cures for comorbid disorders.
I’m epileptic, and I would LOVE a cure for my seizures!
But wanting a cure for comorbid disorders is very different than wanting a cure for autism.
So if you’ve found yourself wondering why autistics don’t want a cure for autism, I hope you found this post insightful.
It truly isn’t that we want autistic children to “suffer” or that we don’t want them to live awesome lives.
Each autistic adult you meet was once an autistic child, and we want your child to live their best life.
We just think that they can live their best life without a cure for autism.
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