Sunday, July 30, 2006

to treat or not to treat

At the time, it never occured to me NOT to address Jacob's Autism. The poor guy was just SO not comfortable with himself, the thought of leaving him to flounder and figure it all out on his own never entered my mind. But recently I've been made aware of a group of parents who have decided to just "accept" their children's Autism as a part of who they are and not to treat it. While I'm in complete disagreement with this stance, I respect a parent's right to make their own decisions for their own child. But while we're on the topic, I figured I'd explain why I think it's important to try to remediate Autism:

My child's brain is not functioning the way it was intended to. The human brain was designed to develop following certain pathways, and his brain's development has taken a detour. The result has nothing to do with his personality and individuality -- it is an improperly functioning brain. I see my job as parent to help get that brain back on the right path so that he can fully realize all of his own individuality. Heck, one of the big deficits of Autism is an impairment in Self-Awareness. I want him to have his own likes and dislikes and understand what they are! I want him to have a sense of who he is, as he's an amazingly wonderful person with so much uniqueness -- none of which is a part of Autism. Making him less Autistic will not change who he is or make him less of a person, it will allow him to truly become who he inherently is.

I feel the same way about this as I would if he were born with an arm that did not function properly. If there was a way to help him learn to use that arm the way it was intended, I would move heaven and earth to help him do it.

I accept my son. I do not accept that he has to learn to live with Autism for the rest of his life. He is NOT Autism. He has a roadblock that I can help him remove, and by jove, I'm gonna remove it.

If that makes me a "cureist" (which seems to be the blanket term for anyone who actually dares to try to intervene with the Autism process, despite the fact that many of us don't think it's possible to actually cure Autism), so be it. Call me whatever you want. I just want what any parent wants for any child -- that my child has the same opportunities to choose what he wants to do with his life. And the ability to choose it. Posted by Picasa

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