I don’t want a cure for autism.
I know. Shocking, right? Even though there are parts of it that suck. I don’t pretend it’s all sunshine and unicorns. I know there are parts of it that suck. Such as the lack of executive functioning. I mean, it sucks to not be able to use the stove on my own because I’m libel to wander away and forget I put a pot of water on. It sucks to not be able to light candles not only because I have a cat who is an asshole, but because I’m likely to forget to blow the candle off (I use a candle warmer. I can’t count how many times I’ve forgotten about it). Sensory overload hurts and it’s no picnic. Losing my words sucks – but I have AAC on my iPad and ways to communicate when that happens so it’s not the end of the world.
I am not “so high functioning”. Functioning levels are ableist bullshit. I may have days where I need more help that others. I may have days where I’m fairly independent. I have both. It isn’t just one or the other. And when you tell me that I need a “cure”, you are insulting who I am as a person. Living with autism is who I’ve been. It’s who I will always be. It’s a huge part of all our personalities.
Autism is a part of who I am. By changing my autism, I am changing who I am. Autism is as natural to me as breathing – I take in facts, I take in knowledge, I take in everything around me. I crave touch and sensation in a way I wouldn’t otherwise. In the same way some sensory things give me pain that it wouldn’t a neurotypical person, they give me pleasure that it wouldn’t give someone else. The thing is? We like how our brands work. Many of us have Synesthesia. Many of us have perfect pitch. Many of us like ourselves just the way we are. If we were neurotypical, many of our little “annoying habits” if you will would be seen as quirks or no big deal. But because we’re autistic, we’re lesser beings and they’re seen as a problem.
Even when we speak out, we’re told to shut up. If we tell them to shut up, we are called rude. That we don’t understand how hard it is to have an autistic child – even though we were, once upon a time, their child – some of us more recently than others. If we point out how dangerous it is, we are told that we’re so high functioning due to being able to speak and type – despite the fact that as I said – I cannot use a stove unattended without serious risk of burning down the apartment and the fact I have extensive in home care (albeit not solely due to autism but physical as well, but that’s beside the point). If I point out that there are some days where I cannot talk, “well, at least you CAN talk”. I can always speak. You just have to choose to listen when it’s what you perceive as atypical.
Autism will not kill us – but our parents will. Autism may not kill us, but our caregivers will. Far too many of us are murdered at the hands of those whose job is to help us, love us, protect us, and be there for us. All the talk about a cure? It’s not for our benefit. It’s for their benefit. A bit louder for those in the back: It’s for their benefit.
“I want a cure so I can hear my child’s voice.” – vocal only, might I add. Ignoring the fact that their child might communicate with AAC, their hands, their eyes, their body language, their phone. It’s not good enough. They don’t choose to listen.
“I want a cure because my child is hard to deal with.” – completely ignoring the fact that said child (or young adult, or adult, whatever) is suffering themselves for whatever reason – it is all “me, me, me” for the paaaaaarents
“I hate the autism but I don’t hate my child. That’s why I want a cure.” Okay. Hold up. Stop. By saying you hate the autism, you are literally saying you hate your child. Their autism is as much a part of them as everything else they cannot or do not want to change. Their autism is their essential core, their essential operating system. Do not tell them you hate their autism only – for while they are more then their autism, it is about THEM, not about your feelings.
Why would I want a cure? My autism has brought me to some of my closest friends. Many of those in my innermost circle fall somewhere in the autism world, and I love it. We can relate. We understand each other. They understand my scripts and I understand theirs. I don’t want a cure for my scripts either and I don’t want to stop using them – they help me function in a world I don’t understand. The fact that I can obsess over things and have expansive knowledge about things that others perceive as meaningless (such as my vast Sesame Street knowledge and my vast Final Fantasy knowledge) is what makes me me.
I don’t want a cure. If I woke up tomorrow and there was one, I would vocally fight against it. It would be dangerous. It would be risky. And the cost would far outweighs any so called benefit… for by taking the autism out of us, you are erasing us.
For further reading: