I keep wondering what it would be like if all the resources going toward cure research, such as Autism Speaks, and fighting Autism Speaks and pro-cure organizations, were actually diverted toward something that could be accomplished: actually helping the actually autistic. There is so much division and fighting among the autism organizations that we are not getting anything done.
This World Autism Day, we need to come together. We need to come together and decide what is actually best for autistic people, while including autistic people in the decisions. One of the parallel organizations for those with mental illness is the National Alliance on Mental Illness, or NAMI. One of NAMI’s best parts is that it includes, and receives help and decision making from those with mental illness. What I am saying is that the autistic need to be part of the autism debate. Just because the autistic may have speech and language delays does not mean they have no speech at all. As a matter of fact, many of us have full speech capabilities, and eventually grow into socialization. Who better to learn about autism than from the autistic? I will not stand by and watch as the autistic are marginalized, institutionalized and ostracized from the debate about what to do with them.
In case you are wondering, I come down on this side of the “cure” debate: I do not believe a cure is possible, especially for what is increasingly seen as a series of genetic traits. Recent studies show that autism is over 90% inherited. If that is the case, then why worry about a cure when you can help the autistic individual adapt to a society not made for them, which can actually happen? Since a cure has not been reached, we need to divert resources toward accepting the autistic into society as regular members, just like any other person with a perceived disability or trait dissimilar to most people.
I wish Autism Speaks could get the message that cure is not possible, and that helping the autistic and society adapt is the solution. All autism organizations need to come together to advocate, not cure. In a genetic sense, a cure requires eugenics, which is something I will not tolerate. I hope this message gets through to the masses, and we come together to help make a society better than we experienced in a bully-laden high school, a better society which helps and adapts to us all.