Saturday, January 24, 2009

Search for the "cure"

When I tell people I have an autistic son, they often ask me what I am doing to try to "cure" him. I don't have an answer to that. Here's why.

When we first got a diagnosis for AJ, he was almost 4. We had suspected Asperger's for quite some time, but couldn't get a doctor to do any testing, because he was sooooo verbal. Anyway, as soon as I had a diagnosis, I explained it to AJ. He asked questions, and we moved on.

After talking to some parents, and doing research, I started reading about "cures". I explained to AJ about these cures, and asked him what he thought. He sat there for a while, and then blew a raspberry. Yep, a raspberry. At the age of 4, that was AJ code for "I'd rather be boiled in oil".

Periodically, since then I've been asking him about it, every 6 months or so. And I always got the same old raspberry.

Recently, though, I asked him again. He thought about it for a really long time. Here's what he said:

"Well, you know, autism makes some things hard. I don't understand people, and they don't understand me. It's hard to make friends, and I don't understand alot of social rules. But, autism is who I am. It's a part of all of me. I wouldn't want to change me. You know autism Mama, can't live with it, and can't live without it!"

And so, that's the decision. And I agree with him 100%.

Now, lots of people tell me that I would feel differently if I had a "low functioning" child. And so I dutifully did my research. I read blogs from people on the "low" end of the spectrum. Sure they need supports, but from the blogs I've read, they're pretty happy with their lives, and don't want a cure, thank you very much.

I've learned alot about "communication skills". I've learned that everyone communicates, just not everyone communicates verbally. Some communicate with pictures, some with writing, some with actions.

So, when you're thinking about cures, it's probably best to ask the people you want to cure if they want to be cured.

Just my opinion (and my son's). I know this is very controversial. Let's play nice.

Peace out.

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