"Curing" autism per se vs. curing specific actual problems

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Mona Pereth

Joined: 11 Sep 2018
Age: 63
Gender: Female
Posts: 3,909
Location: New York City (Queens)

06 Jun 2019, 6:22 am

Below is an excerpt from a post titled Thoughts about Neurodiversity, published back on May 24, 2015 on a blog titled Cyllya Thoughts :

I WANT a cure for my executive function deficits.
I WANT a cure for my debilitating sensory defensiveness.
I WANT a cure for my gastrointestinal problems.
I WANT a cure for my social anxiety.
And I think I--and everyone else--should've been given some actual human relations education during those years I wasted in school, rather than having to home-school myself as an adult.
But I DON'T WANT a cure for my personality. I don't need a cure for my other harmless traits.

The above problems have ruined most of my life and will continue ruining it until I get some kind of treatment for it. But people who have a problem with my uncommon gestures, lack of eye-to-eye gaze, untalkativeness, or introversion can go screw themselves. But which of my traits are considered to come from "autism"?

It seems like most research about autism cures and treatments is concerned about things like eye contact and rocking and generally making kids look "normal." Apparently no one cares that toothpaste is painful or that the idea of mailing a prepared envelope emotionally crushes me.

The prevailing idea among people who want to cure autism seems to be that the Broader Autism Phenotype is a bad thing, but not bad enough to be called a disorder, unless you have an unusually bad case of it, in which case it's called ASD instead of BAP. I'm arguing that BAP is a perfectly okay trait that unfortunately comes with a higher predisposition to certain disorders. I can't help but feel like people diagnosed with ASD actually just have BAP plus some other disorder(s), and it's those disorders that are the problem, not BAP or autism. Meanwhile, the people with BAP and no disorders aren't diagnosed with anything, which is how it should be.

Unfortunately, society seems to have trouble handling more than a couple different disorders. (For example, if you're a parent trying to get your kid disability accomodations in school, you're likely going to have a hard time regardless, but it'll be be even harder if it's a disorder the staff has never heard of or doesn't believe in. And we're always having to try to convince the uninformed masses that people with [insert disorder] aren't inherently dangerous sociopaths, but now imagine if autism were replaced with fifty other disorders and we had to convince people about all of them!) Even though I feel like no one should be "diagnosed" with autism, I'm still pursuing a diagnosis of autism (ASD) for myself. Why? Because I need help with the above problems, and hardly anyone has ever heard of the more specific disorders that encompass those problems. I actually did try getting help for SPD once, but I found NO ONE who would help. Even though autism is really well-known, I had a hard time finding anyone who would asses or treat autism in adults.

The one upside to autism being this awkward hodgepodge of disorders is that it allows all those problems to at least get a little bit of attention. Still, it'd be better if we started using the word "autism" to refer to BAP, stopped trying to cure it, and started giving all those other disorders the attention they deserve.

Regarding the most severely disabled autistic people, I think we can all agree on WANTING a cure for their inability to communicate in any language-based way, WANTING a cure for their intellectual disability if possible, and WANTING a cure for whatever causes them to injure themselves. Those of us who believe in the neurodiversity paradigm just don't want this to happen by eradicating an entire large category of people and/or by eradicating the core of their personalities.

- Autistic in NYC - Resources and new ideas for the autistic adult community in the New York City metro area.
- Autistic peer-led groups (via text-based chat, currently) led or facilitated by members of the Autistic Peer Leadership Group.
- Longterm visions for the autistic community

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06 Jun 2019, 9:31 am

I can't help but feel like people diagnosed with ASD actually just have BAP plus some other disorder(s), and it's those disorders that are the problem, not BAP or autism.

Nice to see I'm not the only one who thinks this.

Let's not confuse being normal with being mentally healthy.