Monday, January 26, 2009

Positively Autistic

I watched this video this morning...

Positively Autistic

I think this is a wonderful video, showing that autism is not a tragedy, that our children are not ruined or doomed to live an isolated, sad life.
I guess I differ from the mother in the video a bit, because I am treating Esme's autism. I am trying to help Esme become more typical through therapy, diet and biomedical treatment. And yes, I do have some mixed feelings about it. I want her to be herself, and love herself, and to know that there is nothing wrong with her. At the same time, I want her to be able to communicate, and get along in the world, and hold down a job (a job she loves, not just the only job she can do), and to enjoy the world around her. While I say we are trying to 'recover' her from autism, what we really mean is that we want to help her brain and body work better than they do.
I believe that Esme was born with autism, but something happened in her second year that caused her body and brain to spiral out of control. We want to get her back to a state of health, and help her catch up with the developmental things she has missed. I do not believe that Esme will ever be non-autistic, but what we want is for her autism to be a gift, not a detriment.
It's a scary thought to me to think of a world where we have gotten 'rid' of the autism gene, or the gene that predisposes people to developing autsim in any form. Certainly it would be wonderful to have treatments for children and adults who are severely affected, and these treatments are most definetly needed. But imagine a world without autism... who would be writing computer code, solving mind-boggiling math equations, figuring out physics conundrums, writing beautiful music... a world with no differences would be a boring (and scary) world indeed.

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