The Cure Conundrum

Posted by on Mar 25, 2010 | 2 comments

There’s one of those “if you care, you’ll post this as your status” updates going around on Facebook this week that caught my eye.  It states:

People need to understand that special needs children don’t have an illness, they are not looking for a cure only acceptance.

I wholeheartedly agree with this.  Completely.

It may be a controversial opinion, especially here in Los Angeles, but I don’t believe Jack’s autism needs to be “cured.”  I think it needs to be managed, like any other trait he was born with.

I’m not going to straighten his unruly curls.  I’m not going to put him on a high-protein, high-fat diet to beef him up because he’s super skinny.  I’m not going to bind his huge feet to keep them small so I don’t have to buy him shoes every other month.

And I’m not going to attempt to change his beautiful mind.

What I have been doing, and will continue to do his entire life, is teach him how to make his way in this world with what he’s been given.  He needed to be taught how to play, and now he plays much like every other kid in the preschool.  He needed to be told that to communicate effectively, you have to look at the other person and engage them.  He still struggles with that, but let me tell you, when he wants a cookie, he’s right in my face.

I don’t think he necessarily needs to adapt all of his behaviors to suit the world around him; rather, I want to help him understand what will work for him and when.  Of course, running into walls and spinning in circles won’t get him far in the job place, but if that’s what he has to do at home to ease his stress, have at it.

He is direct and honest, and while I find it a joy, he should probably know when to hold his tongue.

His ability to run far and fast might be better served on a track than through the maze that is Target on a Sunday morning.

I am not saying there are not children who are much more affected by this syndrome and would not benefit from serious intervention or, yes, a cure. I am not saying I think all research and studies should stop.

I am merely asserting that my particular child is just fine the way he is.  We are endlessly thankful for that, and are painfully aware that the situation could have been much more dire.  He is not ill, he is incredibly intelligent, he is loving and he is loved.

I hope the world sees that, too.


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