Most parents of severely autistic children will answer that question as I have just done. There are some high functioning autistic persons who argue that autism should not be cured. There are some parents of high functioning autistic persons and professionals who work with them who argue that autism should not be cured. Some simply ask whether we should seek to cure autism. The answer to any such question is yes, yes, yes, we should.
We should seek to cure autism so that severely autistic people can be cured and their lives enhanced. That is really all there is to it. This is not to suggest that the higher functioning autistic people who push their views on the internet should be forced to be cured. Absolutely not. But for severely autistic children, whose parents, legally, morally and practically speak for them, the answer is yes they should be given the chance to be cured. What other medical condition do we not seek to cure, or at least to give people the choice of being cured if they are capable of making the choice; or of having their care givers or guardians make the choice if they are not capable?
My son Conor is 11 1/2 and did not have access to 40 hours of ABA between the ages of 2 and 5. He has received ABA as much as possible though particularly since trained UNB-CEL Autism Training Intervention Program began graduating Autism Support Workers; some of whom now work in the school system. With ABA we are able to communicate at a basic level with Conor and he has learned some reading, writing and math skills. (He loves Dr. Seuss and Pinky Dinky Doo) We have also been able to moderate his self aggressive behaviour using ABA and knowledge of what environmental factors are likely to prompt frustration and self aggression.
Would we accept a cure for Conor if one were available and did not involve serious risk to his safety? Yes, if I could cure Conor's autism with the wave of my hand I would stop typing this commentary and do it now before finishing this sentence. I know that Conor is more than his autism; that his personality, his identity, are not dictated by his autism, that Conor would still be Conor. With one major difference. His opportunities to experience and enjoy life would be enhanced immeasurably.
The high functioning autistic persons who oppose curing autism have every right to decide not to be cured of their autism - for themselves. They have absolutely no right to do so for my son and other severely autistic children. They can argue until the sun ceases to shine but they will never convince me, nor most parents of severely autisic children, that we should not cure our children of their autism, that we should not enhance our childrens' lives as parents have strived to do since the beginning of human existence.
Yes, autism should be cured. And the Autism Knowledge Revolution which jumps almost daily onto our internet pages holds out great promise of doing exactly that. Sphere: Related Content