17 December 2012

Neurodiversity. Again.

Okay, screw hiatus. I'm just going to maintain two blogs. Somehow.

I want to talk about Neurodiversity again, now that I've had Son-Rise training and my outlook is a lot different. I was unfollowed by someone I've known online for years (although, I almost think she forgot that she knows me on LJ too, because she hasn't unfriended me there). Anyway, this happened because of a disagreement, or even a perceived disagreement about autism, autism treatment and the desire for a cure. I was asking questions, and before I knew it, BLOCKED. How dare I try to understand?! Oh well. I understand that she's probably dealt with a number of people whose questions weren't quite so non-judgmental, so I'll give her a pass on it, but unless someone lets her know, I guess I'm shit out of luck.

Here's the neurodiversity argument as I understand it:
I have autism. I like me for who I am, and don't want to change. I believe that curing autism will change me, so I don't want a cure. I do however want treatment, on my terms. I believe that autism causes great minds, so I don't want prevention of it either.

Things I don't understand: 
What is their definition of treatment? If a treatment is so effective, that all the symptoms of it are gone, how is that person still autistic? Because their brain is wired differently? But if all the symptoms are gone, and no further treatment is needed... that's a cure. That's kind of the definition of it.

Why do they believe that great minds are created out of autism, not that autism is a side point? Surely there have been many great non-autistic minds. And furthermore, great art has come out of cancer. No cure for that either? (YES, I know, they're not the same. They're not even in the same class. I am not making them equivalent)

If someone doesn't want treatment, and they are of the age to make such a decision, why would they be against someone else getting it? I'm not in favour of the surgery required to fix my son's brain abnormality, because it's not serious enough to cause him issues. But I'm not opposed to someone else getting it. Why are they?

What I believe they don't understand:
You not wanting to change who you are is completely okay with me and completely okay with everyone I know who is advocating for a cure and prevention. We are not saying there is anything *wrong* with you. We're saying you the same as you are - that autistic people need help, need support, need understanding. Our idea of help is effective treatment, which is what we call "cure". Fixing the symptoms. Our idea of support is money for treatment, suitable schools and suitable jobs, money for living when there are no suitable jobs, counselling and therapy SHOULD YOU WANT IT. No one is forcing anything on any adult. As parents of kids, yes, we get to decide what is best for them. Like any parent, of any kid, with any issue. And understanding, well, that's listening, being okay with your autism symptoms, and just loving you for who you are right this moment.

I love my kids. I love them exactly the way they are. Today. Right now. And I want to help them live full, happy, productive lives. Just like every other Mom out there. And to do that, I work with them to help them embrace the world. I have to work harder at it because they're autistic, but really, again, this is no different from every other parent. So you're right if you think I'm angry about your attempts to undermine "cure charities". Because those charities are looking for ways to help my kids. I have a son who can't talk, can't communicate meaningfully, can't use the toilet himself, can't eat by himself, can't go to school, can't cross a street, can't have friends (that's the one that I think is most important). If I use a system like Son-Rise that uses the neuroplasticity of the brain to rewire it, so to speak, so that he can do all these things, he will be able to have all the things the neurodiversity people already have. Every time I see one of these people arguing against a cure, i.e. a treatment that works, they're someone who *can* argue for it. These are people who have friends, meaningful relationships, jobs, skills, life partners, pets.  And they would like to prevent me from doing that?! From giving that to my son?

Not just no, hell no.