Do you think autism needs to be cured

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Dillogic
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27 May 2012, 8:50 am

I think humanity needs a good cure.



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27 May 2012, 1:01 pm

In my opinion, the problem with the "cure" mindset in government officials and the general public is that it takes funds away from where they really need to be spent. This whole population on the spectrum are talented, but many have problems using their talents thanks to a lack of social skills and a stigma which may exist. Funds in the right areas could help these people transition into the workforce and live independent lives.

Unfortunately, though in the region of Canada where I live, there is no government support for autistic adults unless I.Q. is below average. Think of how many people have trouble getting a job, paying bills, and on top of that, can't get funding for programs to deal with the autistic traits that interfere in the workplace. This is just one example of how the most desperate of the autistic population are not getting the support or funding they need to function as well as if they were free of autism in the first place.



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27 May 2012, 1:07 pm

If autism (if I really have it) is causing my anger problems and poor social skills, then yes I'd want to cure myself since I don't like the amount of anger I get when I get insulted by one simple thing.



edgewaters
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27 May 2012, 1:09 pm

Scatmaster wrote:
In my opinion, the problem with the "cure" mindset in government officials and the general public is that it takes funds away from where they really need to be spent. This whole population on the spectrum are talented, but many have problems using their talents thanks to a lack of social skills and a stigma which may exist. Funds in the right areas could help these people transition into the workforce and live independent lives.


I agree - it's a waste of money being spent trying to make something go away, which probably can't even work. Meanwhile ... a vast pool of incredible human capital, that could possibly revolutionize certain industries, is just lying dormant and therefore draining the system because no effort is being made to realize the potential benefits at hand - despite the fact this potential has been noted.

It seems to me like basic problem-solving skills are severely lacking in this approach.



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29 May 2012, 10:29 am

edgewaters wrote:
I agree - it's a waste of money being spent trying to make something go away, which probably can't even work. Meanwhile ... a vast pool of incredible human capital, that could possibly revolutionize certain industries, is just lying dormant and therefore draining the system because no effort is being made to realize the potential benefits at hand - despite the fact this potential has been noted.

It seems to me like basic problem-solving skills are severely lacking in this approach.


Agreed.

Honestly, I wonder how policy-makers and some organizations can be so clueless as to what our needs actually are...

I feel as if people are more enlightened about other genetic behavioral differences that at least they acknowledge that these people need help more so than a cure, like other learning and developmental disabilities. What do you guys think?



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30 May 2012, 1:29 pm

edgewaters wrote:

I agree - it's a waste of money being spent trying to make something go away, which probably can't even work. Meanwhile ... a vast pool of incredible human capital, that could possibly revolutionize certain industries, is just lying dormant and therefore draining the system because no effort is being made to realize the potential benefits at hand - despite the fact this potential has been noted.

It seems to me like basic problem-solving skills are severely lacking in this approach.


It's not being spent to make something go away. It's being spent to bring ability to those who are disabled. That human capital is held by the higher functioning, while the lower functioning don't have access to it. Cure is supposed to let all have that capital. It's only lying dormant when those with the high IQs don't choose to use their aptitudes for something.



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30 May 2012, 1:58 pm

dalurker wrote:
edgewaters wrote:

I agree - it's a waste of money being spent trying to make something go away, which probably can't even work. Meanwhile ... a vast pool of incredible human capital, that could possibly revolutionize certain industries, is just lying dormant and therefore draining the system because no effort is being made to realize the potential benefits at hand - despite the fact this potential has been noted.

It seems to me like basic problem-solving skills are severely lacking in this approach.


It's not being spent to make something go away. It's being spent to bring ability to those who are disabled. That human capital is held by the higher functioning, while the lower functioning don't have access to it. Cure is supposed to let all have that capital. It's only lying dormant when those with the high IQs don't choose to use their aptitudes for something.


I dunno, man. Maybe the debate lies within the understanding of the word "cure". When scientists/organizations use that word in order to get funding for research, I think that hey, they want to look for a cause for autism (isn't it genetic?) and find a way to make autism go away, like a "cure for cancer" or something. That's the definition of the word, no? To remove a disease? I've even read about autism being described as a "disease" by scientists:

http://science.kqed.org/quest/2012/04/3 ... ism-genes/

I was the one who pointed it out in the comments section, btw. But when it comes to using funds instead to give behavioral therapy, or help individuals become more established in society by finding a way for them to belong, I am all for that. There are methods in place that work already for this autistic population you are talking about. Those same methods can also help those with high IQ's, so I don't see why those with high IQ's should be denied the same treatment when clearly the same disability is manifesting in their daily life. I just see that a lot of money is being brought in by the hope of a "cure" for the disorder, when who knows if one even exists.



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30 May 2012, 2:26 pm

Scatmaster wrote:
Those same methods can also help those with high IQ's, so I don't see why those with high IQ's should be denied the same treatment when clearly the same disability is manifesting in their daily life. I just see that a lot of money is being brought in by the hope of a "cure" for the disorder, when who knows if one even exists.

The same disability isn't manifesting in their daily life. They don't need the same treatment. That's why it's called a spectrum. For the ones on the spectrum with debilitating impairments, relying solely on government bureaucrats for ridiculous jobs isn't a satisfying or status ensuring way to live. That's not enough. Money needs to be spent on cure so cure can exist someday.



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30 May 2012, 2:46 pm

dalurker wrote:
Scatmaster wrote:
Those same methods can also help those with high IQ's, so I don't see why those with high IQ's should be denied the same treatment when clearly the same disability is manifesting in their daily life. I just see that a lot of money is being brought in by the hope of a "cure" for the disorder, when who knows if one even exists.

The same disability isn't manifesting in their daily life. They don't need the same treatment. That's why it's called a spectrum. For the ones on the spectrum with debilitating impairments, relying solely on government bureaucrats for ridiculous jobs isn't a satisfying or status ensuring way to live. That's not enough. Money needs to be spent on cure so cure can exist someday.


Sorry, I don't think that was my point. I don't mean the government paying people in this category for their work, that is not a sustainable option. I'm talking about access to services such as counseling to deal with daily stresses and anxiety, cognitive behavior therapy to be able change thinking patterns and see things in a different light, social skills training, help with job searches, help making friends and being integrated into society.... I mean these services are offered if you have the money, but you pretty much have to already have a job if you are an adult with a higher IQ, or have someone who will pay for the services for you, at least with the policy my government has. There are many organizations offering help for autistic people, and the government subsidizes the cost, but only for those with below average IQ's.

Just wanted to clarify.



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20 Jun 2012, 11:12 pm

I don't believe in curing any kind of autism. We are all special, unique individuals. Is life going to be hard sometimes, sure isn't it for everyone. Autism is simply a different way of looking at and thinking about the world, in my opinion a better way.



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20 Jun 2012, 11:15 pm

horsegurl4190 wrote:
I don't believe in curing any kind of autism. We are all special, unique individuals. Is life going to be hard sometimes, sure isn't it for everyone. Autism is simply a different way of looking at and thinking about the world, in my opinion a better way.


I agree with you. There shouldn't be a cure, because we're different and what can be different can be beautiful. :)


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20 Jun 2012, 11:26 pm

CockneyRebel wrote:
horsegurl4190 wrote:
I don't believe in curing any kind of autism. We are all special, unique individuals. Is life going to be hard sometimes, sure isn't it for everyone. Autism is simply a different way of looking at and thinking about the world, in my opinion a better way.


I agree with you. There shouldn't be a cure, because we're different and what can be different can be beautiful. :)


I agree also. Well put in my opinion.


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21 Jun 2012, 12:56 am

I don't know if "cure" is the right word. But better treatment would be nice, at least for more severe autism. I definitely wouldn't want a cure for milder Autism/AS, since there is plenty of potential to contribute to society in a meaningful way and lead fulfilling lives.

My sister has severe autism. She has definitely blessed our family and helped us grow and I would in no way put down her value as an individual. But for her, that's no way to live. She's non-verbal, no interest in communicating with others, severe meltdowns, low IQ. I've lived with her for 19 years now and I still don't know her.


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21 Jun 2012, 7:40 am

Erminetheawkward wrote:
I don't know if "cure" is the right word. But better treatment would be nice, at least for more severe autism. I definitely wouldn't want a cure for milder Autism/AS, since there is plenty of potential to contribute to society in a meaningful way and lead fulfilling lives.

My sister has severe autism. She has definitely blessed our family and helped us grow and I would in no way put down her value as an individual. But for her, that's no way to live. She's non-verbal, no interest in communicating with others, severe meltdowns, low IQ. I've lived with her for 19 years now and I still don't know her.


^ this
I also would love really effective treatment for the problems my son experiences. Also severely autistic, his life seems to be one long battle. I don't believe this is how he is meant to be, I think there is so much more joy for him if his problems could be fixed. So now I don't hope for a cure, like I used to... I pray they will find out how to properly treat the negatives and that the positives that come from being autistic remain. I sure as hell don't want to get rid of all of you. A happy and well functioning autistic person is a beautiful thing :heart: Difference is beautiful, pain is not.



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21 Jun 2012, 9:30 am

Prenatal screening would be a disaster. Most people are severely uninformed of what different conditions entail, and doctors often demonize the conditions, making parents believe abortion is the only viable option. This is commonplace for Down's syndrome - the doctors in question often don't even know anyone with the condition. Parents who choose to give birth (often despite the physician's protests) can tell a different story. As can the children with the syndrome, who in general by no means are miserable. The (in many places) current practice of terminating the huge majority of fetuses with chromosomal disorders is based on ignorance, and the general society is similarly ignorant in regards to autism. If prenatal diagnosis is made possible, most fetuses with indicators for autism will be aborted, and there is good reason to believe society will suffer from it. Baron-Cohen has some good points about not only this, but also about the (probably never to exist) "cure": http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7736196.stm

I disagree with his stance on selective abortion of Down's syndrome, however. He doesn't mention that in this article, but I saw him say something along the lines of Down's syndrome being a mutation that will occur regularly even if we keep aborting the fetuses, while autism might be made extinct, since it consists of inheritable traits, not mutations, in another article. That may be right (I'm not a geneticist), but it doesn't reduce the ethical problems with eugenic abortion as such. While I'm generally accepting of differing ethical viewpoints, our current abortion practice, and especially eugenic abortion, disgusts me, and it always has, regardless of changes in my world view and morals in general. But at least he points out some very valid points about prenatal diagnosis and "the cure".

As to the "cure", I see no problem with treating symptoms like sensory problems, co-morbid depressions, OCD, anxiety and so on. If I could get medication for my sensory hypersensitivity, I most probably would take it. That is, unless it also affected the parts of my processing ability that actually are an advantage, like noticing details, great peripheral vision and so on. If a treatment would alter those things, I can live with having to use sunglasses indoor, and having to use earplugs from time to time. It is manageable. Most days.

And yes, things like mood stabilizers do affect personality to some extent. But it doesn't affect the personality I was born with. My depressive traits were acquired after years of bullying and emotional abuse. When I finally found medication that worked, people commented that I was more like myself, like they knew me from my childhood and early teens. In that way, the medication didn't alter my personality, it restored my personality. That's an important distinction.

Also, even when I wish I could change my personality or who I am (I do sometimes hate myself, the fact that I'm soon turning 30 and still not done with my education, I've had one relationship in my life, which was a disaster, and all my plans for the future so far have failed), I realize it would also change the parts of my life that I like. I would probably:

- Have different friends. I like my friends.
- Have different interest. I like my interests.
- Adhere to a different religion (my conversion story includes the need for (theo)logical consistency, acceptance of reason and science, predictability and acceptance of introversion). I like my religion.
- Listen to different music. I like J-pop.
- Not have the ability to rapidly absorb information when I get interested in a subject. I like that ability.
- Have less interesting discussions at parties (twice a year ;-) ), and more small talk. I love interesting discussions, and small talk is objectively useless.
- Not have spent years studying philosophy and religion out of pure interest, disregarding my complete inability to teach, and hence get a relevant job. I'm glad a did, even though it was useless from a career perspective. This point is weak, though - if I were NT, I might be able to teach. But meh, it's still a point.

I'll stop there. Of course, If i were NT, I probably would think differently, and I'd probably love my different friends, interests and so on. But that wouldn't be me, and even when I hate being me, I would prefer being me over someone else.