The great “Autism debate” rages on and divide or rift inside the community was the inevitable result. Aren’t we all on the same side?
Since watching the movie Loving Lamppost: Living Autistic I’ve been thinking. Why all the “infighting” ? Aren’t we all on the same side? Don’t we all want the same thing? I realize that in any debate there has to be two sides and Autism is no exception. We have the “recovery movement” and the “ neurodiversity movement”.
Proponents of the “recovery movement” believe Autism is caused by vaccines and/or other environmental toxins. This movement is considered to operateoutside the realm of mainstream science and medicine. There is little or no scientific evidence to support their theory of the origins of Autism. They believe that Autism can be cured and children recovered using “alternative” treatments such as GFCF diet, hyperbaric therapy and detoxification.
Proponents of “neuordiversity” choose to look at things like Autism or ADHD for example, as natural conditions. They acknowledge that these conditions can be challenging or even disabling. However, they see Autism as more of a variation of the human condition. They promote acceptance but are not against medical or biomedical intervention as deemed necessary to address certain symptoms and improve the overall quality of life.
Now I feel that everyone is entitled to there own opinion. However, we CANNOT let our differences of opinion come between us and what we are trying to accomplish. The problem with a debate like this, in my opinion, is that we lose focus on what’s most important. Instead of the community coming together for a common goal we are waging war on each other. Who’s right and who’s wrong becomes the most important issue. Do you know who pays the price? It’s our kids that pay the price. This is unacceptable and needs to stop. We should be working together and not against one another.
So I propose a new movement. Call it the “reality Autism movement” and everyone is invited. What is the “reality Autism movement”? We recognize that despite some fundamental differences WE ARE ALL ON THE SAME TEAM working to get to same place. We know that everyone…EVERYONE, regardless of opinion, plays a VERY important role in the spread of Autism Awareness. We also believe we stand a MUCH better chance of building a better, more understanding world for our children if we stand together….despite our differences. One UNITED front. We DO NOT condone or tolerate the bullying of others that may not share our beliefs. We realize that while research is VITAL to the future, there are families struggling with Autism NOW.
The “reality Autism movement” believes:
-The “reality” of Autism is that we DON’T know what causes it. While we will NEVER agree on this, we also recognize everyone’s right to have an opinion about what happened to their child. We respect these opinions…even if we don’t agree.
-The “reality” of Autism is that most people have NO idea what Autism REALLY is. We share our personal experience with Autism in order to help the world see Autism though the eyes of persons and families affected by it.
-The “reality” of Autism is that it’s different for each person and can impact a family in profoundly different ways. Because of this we recognize that Autism can and will mean different things to different people. We believe that’s okay.
-The “reality” of Autism is that we have no “cure”. While not everyone believes Autism can or even should be “cured”, we recognize that everyone’s opinion is relative to their experience with Autism. Some are more profoundly impacted then others and so a the idea of a “cure” means hope and we understand and support them. Some people do just fine and so the idea of a “cure” holds no value and that’s perfectly okay as well.
-The “reality” of Autism is that we don’t know enough about it to really know much of anything but we are learning more and more each day.
-The “reality” of Autism is that Autistic kids grow up to be Autistic adults and there is NOT enough support for these people. We push for better understanding, support and acceptance so that adult persons with Autism can meet their own potential and lead healthy, happy lives.