“Autism Awareness” =/= “Antivaccine Awareness”

07Apr09

David Gorski settles Jenny McCarthy’s hash. Or he would, if McCarthy’s hash wasn’t so tenaciously unsettleable.

I, however, am hung up on a related topic: the idea that McCarthy not only “cured” her son’s autism, but thinks that this is a good thing.

I’ve had a high-functioning autistic in my circle of best-beloveds for a long time, and much of what I love about this person directly results from the HFA. Without the autism, s/he would be a dramatically different person – perhaps someone I would not get along with at all.

So whenever I hear the insistence that we must “cure” autism, all I can think of are the many other “diseases” we’ve tried to “cure” in the past – and failed, every single time – that make the people we love who they are. “Diseases” like homosexual orientation, for example, or transgender-ness.

I wholeheartedly agree that families with autistic members, especially ones who can’t function on their own, need relief from the endless uphill that is helping their child/sibling/etc. But we can address that need now with the resources we have now, in a manner that isn’t aimed at the pipe dream of turning a person into something else because we don’t like the original programming.

Whether autism can be “cured” remains to be seen, but whether it SHOULD be cured is the much bigger question. Where do we draw the line between increasing an autistic person’s functionality and eliminating who they are?

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One Response to ““Autism Awareness” =/= “Antivaccine Awareness””

  1. 1 Kimberly

    Pixie,

    Have you watched the movie “The Black Balloon” ?

    It came out last year. It’s about a family who lives in Australia and how it affects their oldest son.


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