|Autism: Acceptance vs. Cure
It is difficult to know for certain if the occurrence of autism is rising significantly or whether clinicians are
now better trained to recognize it, most experts agree that the growing statistics can be caused by a
combination of factors. Indisputably, the numbers mean a whole new generation of children will be growing
up with autism.
There are no known causes of autism. There are, however, several theories related to diet (gluten, casein),
the environment (pollution), and childhood vaccinations. At this point in time these are only speculations;
researchers do not have sufficient data indicating any one cause. Clinicians know that autism tends to run in
families and that if you have one child with autism, your odds of having a second child with autism are 20%
higher than the general population.
Some argue that there is no cure and others argue that autism is completely reversible. Some people may see
autism as a blessing and others as a curse.
Should autism be accepted as natural diversity, or should it be considered a defect that needs to be cured?
This debate has divided the autism community for many years. The dispute in the autism community
basically is between what is labeled as high-functioning and low-functioning people. High-functioning people
can communicate verbally and low-functioning people can’t.
Individuals with Asperger's syndrome, a mild form of autism, speak proficiently; however, their very
constricted interest reveals their difference. These individuals and autism activists are disturbed and oppose
at the idea of a cure. They believe that curing autism means eliminating the autistic population. Although,
they are different, and have their challenges, in actuality they’re a variation of the norm and should be
accepted. Some even have exceptional abilities that should be praised and encouraged.
The autism rights movement encourages autistic people to "embrace their neurodiversity" and encourages
society to accept autistics as they are. They advocate giving children more tools to cope with the non-
autistic world instead of trying to change them into the norm. They say society should learn to tolerate
harmless behaviors such as tics and stims like hand flapping or humming. Autism rights activists say that
"tics, like repetitive rocking and violent outbursts" can be managed if others make an effort to understand
autistic people, while other autistic traits, "like difficulty with eye contact, with grasping humor or with
breaking from routines", wouldn't require corrective efforts if others were more accepting.
In Search of a Cure
The Autism Society of America estimates that 600,000 adults are living with autism in the United States.
That number will most likely skyrocket, given the CDC's recognition of an increase in the numbers of
children with autism. The newest numbers suggest that one in every 100 children has autism.
For the past decade parents have been frightened by the reported connection between childhood
vaccinations and autism. The culprit was said to be the mercury-containing preservative thimerosal. In
response, many parents of autistic children turned to unscientific remedies, sometimes with fatal
consequences. Other parents avoided having their children vaccinated, leading to outbreaks of otherwise
Autism advocates have been searching for a cure, a permanent correction of the condition. Is it possible for
a person with autism to some way become not autistic? If this is the case, then clinicians would have to re-
wire the brain. The truth is there is no cure for autism. While there books, or products that promise a cure
for autism, they are misleading. Autism has no cure but there are lots of treatments that can help with some
of the symptoms and can make living with autism easier.
Autism is treatable, but the best results come from early intervention, while a child’s brain is developing
rapidly. It is far easier during this time to teach these young children cognitive and social skills that will be
crucial in their childhood, especially as they enter school, where delayed development can be not only
frustrating but incapacitating.
Treatment children on the autism spectrum can include: behavioral interventions, therapists conduct intense
training exercises to help modify behavior, teach social and language skills. Medications like anti-anxiety and
anti-depressants, to help individuals deal with some of the symptoms associated with autism. Natural and
alternative treatments for example vitamin and mineral supplements are being found to help in treating autism.
The very little scientific outcome research that exists is not enough to explain or a “quick fix” for each case
of autism. Treatment research in autism has been disregarded by those only interested in a cure for autism.
Researchers working on a cure admit that any breakthroughs are not as likely to “cure” the children
currently affected by autism as to prevent future cases.