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Thread: A "Cure" for Autism

  1. #1

    Default A "Cure" for Autism

    Note: if you want to read up on the subject, try Wrong Planet - Autism Community and Autism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    A lot of people are diagnosed with autism or some form of it. Even more have autism and don't have or need a diagnosis. It's a spectrum; on one of the spectrum you have a severe mental disability and on the other end you have people that are perfectly healthy, if perhaps coming off as a little awkward.

    There tends to be a clash between the parents/caretakers of the first group and the people in the second group. Organizations like Autism Speaks wholly represent the parents of the first group, and are thus biased; but the same can be said of people in the second group, who only have their own experiences to go on.

    From organizations like Autism Speaks comes talk of there needing to be a cure for autism. This is understandable, because parents/caretakers often have a lot of trouble with their kids, but it's controversial.

    Personally, I'm in the second group, and I oppose the whole idea of a cure. Asperger's (a type of autism) is a part of my personality. You can't think of it as separate from me. Therefore, curing me would essentially kill me--I'd be a different person.

    What do you think? What would something do to be considered a cure for autism, and should there be one?

  2. #2
    crazykittensmile

    Default

    I don't think that a reliable and effective 'cure' for autism is likely to be found in my lifetime. I don't see what could possible be invented or implemented to encourage normal neural development, or to alter the effects autism has on the brain, especially as we do not fully understand how autism occurs or have any reliable way of diagnosing autism.

    I work with children with autism - mainly I work with those who are low-functioning, but I have also worked with children and teens whose autism does not impair them from being independent or happy. When it comes to whether a disability which effects learning, behaviour, social skills etc whether a cure should be found, and whether family or the person effected themselves want the person to be 'cured' brings up an interesting moral debate. Parents of children with autism, and indeed other disabilities such as cerebral palsy, downs syndrome and other genetic disabilities almost always fiercely love their children, and of course love them for who they are, not despite of but often because of their disability. When parents are expecting a baby, nobody dreams of having a disabled child. When they imagine their children's futures, they don't imagine a future where their child will still be dependent on them at the ages of 20, 30, 40. That said, when you have a disabled child you adapt, you change your priorities, expectations and aspirations for your child, but you love them just as you always planned. The child that you love, and all of the little aspects of their personality that you love, are of course in part a result of your child's disability. Take away the disability, and in theory you would have a different child, rather than your child as you know them.

    On the other hand, many disabled children will not grow up to be fully, or even partially, independent. They may not be able to even do the little things many of us take for granted - go to the store, cook a meal, drive a car - let alone the big aspirations many of us have - moving out of home, finding a job, getting married, having children. Of course, this is not the case with all people who have a disability, naturally it depends on the severity of a person's disability and how it alters or impairs their ability to function alongside their peers. For children on the lower-functioning end of the autistic spectrum this may be their reality. Often they do not have the skills they need to communicate and interact with people or the world around them in a way which we, from the outside, perceive as meaningful. Does this mean that it is not meaningful, or that the child is not happy just the way they are? No, many low-functioning children are very happy. On the other hand, many children are clearly frustrated and upset by the world at times. I can understand why parents might want a cure for the very thing that is causing their child additional difficulties to those normally encountered by their peers, even if it did mean that in effect part of their personality and the things that make them them would be altered.

    I have more to say, but I have to go take a train now. This is an interesting debate though, one I shall come back to later

  3. #3

    Default

    A cure for autism (among other things) would be great but this whole aspeger's thing seems like a load of bullshit in some cases. A lot of doctors seemingly just say people have autism/ADHD since that's actually what the parents/kids or patients want to hear or they are simply tired of dealing with normal people who somehow they they aren't normal since either don't like this or don't want to act "normal".

    Theres a LOT of bullshit in the world and sometimes doctors just like to pile more shit on as do polticans, parents, teachers and eveyone else, including me. Have fun figuring everything out.

  4. #4

    Default

    I grew up with Aspergers. What I wouldn't give today to not have that shit when I was a kid. Who knows-- I might still have a single friend from more than 4 years ago! I know it would have been 20 times easier on me *and* on my parents if I had been cured.

  5. #5

    Default

    I too have Aspergers, and while it is a part of me, I can only think of how much easier my life would be like without it.

  6. #6

    Default



    Quote Originally Posted by Crinklebottom View Post
    [I] I oppose the whole idea of a cure. Asperger's (a type of autism) is a part of my personality. You can't think of it as separate from me. Therefore, curing me would essentially kill me--I'd be a different person.
    This was pretty much exactly what I was going to reply to this thread saying right after I saw the title
    I have aspergers myself, I read something like that from a book once called Geeks, Freaks and Aspergers Syndrome.
    (Cool book BTW) the author said it and I totally agreed.

  7. #7

    Default

    Yeah pretty much. Yeah essentially kill is a bit of an understatement I’m pretty sure that’s the definition of death.
    As for it being part of my personality yeah it is rather probably more on the I’m blessed with being who I wanna be anyway.
    heck if I was showing signs of normality i’d probably want to kill myself.[very strong part of my identity since always.]
    Last edited by tigerofbeestein; 12-Apr-2011 at 10:51.

  8. #8

    Default

    I occasionally work with children who either have Asperger's or are Autistic. I know that the condition is not easy on them or their parents. There is one Autistic boy at our school who has befriended me and I truly like him. I'm sure the other students view him as being strange. In addition to having problems socializing, he also has learning problems, even though he knows a great deal. I think he has trouble focusing on the things he needs to do. If there was a cure, it would make his life a lot easier. Personally, I love him for who he is, but I'm different from most folks, and I take the time to see the beauty that is within him. As a side note, he addresses me as a Colonel from the Civil War, because we share the same last name. He gets a certain amount of amusement from this, and we both share in the joke, including his special ed. teacher. I'm friends with that teacher, and occasionally I poke in her classroom when she's working with him one on one.

  9. #9

    Default



    Quote Originally Posted by Crinklebottom View Post
    Note: if you want to read up on the subject, try Wrong Planet - Autism Community and Autism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    A lot of people are diagnosed with autism or some form of it. Even more have autism and don't have or need a diagnosis. It's a spectrum; on one of the spectrum you have a severe mental disability and on the other end you have people that are perfectly healthy, if perhaps coming off as a little awkward.

    There tends to be a clash between the parents/caretakers of the first group and the people in the second group. Organizations like Autism Speaks wholly represent the parents of the first group, and are thus biased; but the same can be said of people in the second group, who only have their own experiences to go on.

    From organizations like Autism Speaks comes talk of there needing to be a cure for autism. This is understandable, because parents/caretakers often have a lot of trouble with their kids, but it's controversial.

    Personally, I'm in the second group, and I oppose the whole idea of a cure. Asperger's (a type of autism) is a part of my personality. You can't think of it as separate from me. Therefore, curing me would essentially kill me--I'd be a different person.

    What do you think? What would something do to be considered a cure for autism, and should there be one?
    I recently came out of a relationship with someone who has Asperger's syndrome, and no, I don't think he should be "cured". But from living with him for several years, I do think that part of the condition is a lack of insight into how much it affects people around you - it strikes me as similar to the way that schizophrenics characteristically lack insight into their own delusions.

    For my ex, the biggest issue was the rage that would descend if something triggered off his Asperger's, like the neighbours making noise late at night or me doing something he perceived as irrational. In part he seemed to know it wasn't actually him that was angry, but he had no productive or positive ways of managing his stress levels and averting flipouts, like communicating that he was feeling bad before he reached tipping point or expressing the anger without hurting me (emotionally, I hasten to add).

    Knowing him, I think it would have taken a lot of time and patience to teach him that, and a partner is certainly not the right person to do it - but I do think he could have learnt, and that having skills in communicating with people who aren't AS would have made it far easier for him to get his needs met. We parted on good terms and both wish things could have turned out differently, but I know I couldn't go back to living with that unpredictability without one or both of us having tools for dealing with it sanely.

    For me, the right solution would be to have much more support available for people who are on the autism spectrum but more or less functional. For example, I know Aspie kids are sometimes taught how to recognise facial expressions better to improve their understanding of others' emotions and ability to communicate, and I think some Aspie adults might benefit from the same thing. I know adult Aspergers sufferers who did have that treatment as children, and they're far more capable in relationships than my partner was despite being comparable in their place on the spectrum to him.

    Most people in the world are neurotypical; and we all have to be able to communicate with the majority to survive. As a trans person I feel this more deeply than most, because the mainstream sure as hell doesn't understand me - and I also understand that for all I've got one hell of a communication problem, being different still does not mean being wrong.

    So yeah - not cure, but management.

  10. #10

    Default



    Quote Originally Posted by Fire2box View Post
    A cure for autism (among other things) would be great but this whole aspeger's thing seems like a load of bullshit in some cases. A lot of doctors seemingly just say people have autism/ADHD since that's actually what the parents/kids or patients want to hear or they are simply tired of dealing with normal people who somehow they they aren't normal since either don't like this or don't want to act "normal".

    Theres a LOT of bullshit in the world and sometimes doctors just like to pile more shit on as do polticans, parents, teachers and eveyone else, including me. Have fun figuring everything out.
    I find it sad however that there is people out there that think Aspergers is "fake" altogether. Though some Americans might be confused since it got added only about 20-15 years ago (around the early to mid 90s) to the American "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders", where as it added to many European equivalents way back in the 60s or even back in the mid and late 40s when Hanns Asperger published the papers on the syndrome. But its obvious that its anything but "fake", which I can tell you with having it all my life (though I didn't know what described my mental differences was "Aspergers" until I was 19. The fact that it wasn't even in the American DSM until I was in older childhood years is more than likely one of the big reasons I didn't get diagnosed with it as a kid) that its anything but. Though to be honest, from my experence and stories I heard, there's allot of bad doctors here in the US. Such as my brothers girlfriend had to see three different doctors before they diagnosed her having bronchitis, the rest just though she had something like a cough or a cold and told her to go home without even treating it and they didn't even run any tests.

    Anyway, there is no real way to "cure" Autism Spectrum Disorders as, with vast majority of neurological disorders, it's deals with the development of the brain before birth. Unless you can somehow detect it very early during the pregnancy and change the development of the brain without causing severe damage for the baby, there is no real "cure" that can happen. Also, another issue is that its really hard to tell a child has an ASD until their around 4-6 years old which then you can notice their not interacting with the other kids very much (if at all), learning to speak really late (I know I did, I didn't start to fully talk until about age 4 from what my mother told me) if they do at all, etc. Though most of the information on ASDs you can find is for kids since its at that stage that its the easiest to detect.

    But I have heard of some of the things Autism Speaks has done and it's not pretty. I hear they don't want to support families (they only give 4% of their profits to families and charities if they even do), they demonize the kids with ASDs, have been suspected to be practicing eugenics, etc. I also saw a clip of Ausism's Speaks video called "Autism Everyday" that had a mother saying she would of taken herself and her little autistic girl and drove off of a bridge but what prevented her was the fact she had another child without an ASD. The sick thing is too is that she said that infront of the poor child in the film (which I found a clip of this posted by WrongPlanet.net here: YouTube - Mother talks about killing her autistic daughter and herself ). So yea, I am defiantly not for supporting them and it seems like allot of people with ASDs feel the same way from what I noticed. Infact, there was a protest just in October by some people with ASDs in Columbus and from reading this blog post (Autistic Self-Advocacy Network, Central Ohio: Protest Against Autism Speaks in Columbus ), it sadly sounds like they were treated pretty poorly too.

    My AS has been a big part of my personally, rather it be for better and for worse. I still do have some issues socially like I usually never have much to say (especially vocally), and I've had some people tell me I have an odd posture. I just recently over the last few years got used to looking people directly in the eyes when talking to them and learned afew what afew facial expressions are (before I had allot of trouble telling if someone was sad or mad for example). However, I am still abit face-blind as I still have some issues recognizing people I just met when doing my computer repairs so I will ask that very person where they are which is quite embarrassing. And my behavior wasn't all that great when I was a kid at times. Like in grade and early middle school, I used to throw things at people when I had one of my "spasms" and whatnot. However, I've figured out with trying enough, you can learn to overcome some of the hurdles, especially once you figure out that after you figure out how, that you can learn some things that come naturally to others (like facial expressions).

    However like most people with AS, I started to develop that one big interest when growing up and I became very interested in computers and technology and when I was young, wanted to learn everything I could. I would learn when I was 19 that this is a VERY common trait among people with AS, which is why some kids with AS can be known as "Little professors". My first experience was from when my father brought home a 286 with DOS on it, which I became obsessed with learning the DOS commands and it went on from there. During middle school, I actually became the aid for the computer lab teacher (who was also the main IT person there) and I even have a award they gave me in "technology" for that. However, during high school, they actually BANNED me from the computers one year because they were "afraid" I could "hack" their systems though the truth was, I knew more than their crappy IT guy did and apparently they didn't like that fact. Though that didn't fly with my father at all, for good reason and had a long discussion with the high school principal. Though now, I have a job going around repairing broken computers under warranty and I am doing very well with it. Even despite its my profession, it still a hobby to me at times. Such as I still like tinkering with certain things like the whole Hackintosh thing on my desktop computer as well as modifying my Wii to run homebrew software and run games I own that I installed on a USB hard drive (I also modified my original Xbox in the past).

    For me, my ASD has been more of a "mental difference" than anything. Though there are hurdles I had to overcome in my life, as I said, it's a large part of who I am.
    Last edited by DA360; 12-Apr-2011 at 20:58.

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