Sunday, 23 March 2014

My thoughts about the 'cure' view.

I did a bit of advocacy in a mostly NT group for a friend last night. It went well, I think. She was upset about people telling her that they wanted ASD cured. She posted in the group that she did not want to be cured and others did not understand why she would not want a cure. I helped her out by sharing a few thoughts. 

My response was inspired by this brilliant post shared on the Diary of a Mom Facebook page. Her description of Autism being a pervasive condition is brilliant. 

I read this brilliant blog post a bit later on about the positives of being Autistic which helped me form my view and words for my response to my Autistic friend's frustration and pain at being misunderstood in an NT group.

Here is my response.

I'm autistic and don't want a cure. I have times where I would be considered low functioning and non-verbal. Then I have times where I can communicate verbally, and interact quite well with others. Sometimes people can't tell I'm autistic, sometimes it is very obvious.

I think what many autistic people have issue with is the word cure. Autism is a pervasive disorder which means it pervades everything - our brain, our body. Autism cannot be separated from us. It is a neurological condition. I firmly believe in improving overall health - diet, self-care, teaching emotional regulation, managing sensory issues, medication if needed, helping us to understand social cues, teaching body awareness, and helping us to understand our own neurology. Diagnosis and fully understanding what that means can be a powerful thing. It definitely was/is for me.

So much is written about the negatives of Autism and not much positives. There are definite positives. My intense thirst for knowledge, my obsessive nature, my need to research about things before making a decision, how in-tune with my son I am, my need to improve myself. These are all things I do which are positive which is due to being Autistic. [added this after].

I am currently on medication which has changed my life for the better. Without it I would be having meltdowns a lot of the time, a lot more non-verbal, living as a hermit and not able to be the parent that my son needs me to be. I think if the language was changed to improving health, and supporting autistic people in a way that suits them that would make a big difference. 

I think it is up to each person to choose how they want to label themselves and what kind of support they need.

I have read some brilliant blog posts written by non-verbal autistics. Non-verbal does not mean they can't communicate or understand the world. It just means they need a different way of communicating - written communication. So using an iPad or computer literally changes the lives of non-verbal autistic people. Google Amy Sequenzia or Carly Fleischmann, if you want to know more.

I think the most important thing is to remember that autistic people just want to be understood and accepted. We have it tough seeing the world from a different perspective and never really fitting in. Many of us have formed our own communities mostly on-line and have found acceptance that way.

Most important is to remember 'nothing about us, without us.' We need to be part of the conversation over what happens to us and how we are treated.

I have had over 40 people in the group like this statement and no negative comments. I am pleased with my first experience with advocating in an NT group.

No comments:

Post a Comment

You don't have to agree with all that I am writing about, however please refrain from name-calling, belittling, and bullying. That will not be tolerated here. Thank you.