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populationone
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18 Jul 2013, 12:04 pm

A few months ago I saw (and I'm going to try to type this in the most respectful way possible) a woman hugging 3 boys (her children I guess), with a smile so wide it must have been botoxed, on the front of a book in the library claiming that Autism and Asperger's could be cured/fixed. Does anyone know if there is any truth to that?

When I first saw it, I will admit I was a little pissed that she was comparing it to a disease. Right now, going through the struggles of just turning 18, I hate to say it but I'm starting to agree with her. :(


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18 Jul 2013, 12:13 pm

No there is not a cure, its a lifelong condition......there are ways to manage the difficult parts of it however.


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18 Jul 2013, 12:17 pm

You can always take the red pill.


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18 Jul 2013, 12:30 pm

Before you can find a "cure" you have to isolate the causes, and nobody has successfully done that yet, so no, there is no 'cure.' My understanding is that its not one genetic switch that has to be flipped in order for Autism to occur, but several, and that they may not all be exactly the same in everyone who has it (leading to the "spectrum" phenomenon). That seems perfectly in keeping with my experience, that my Autism does not manifest itself as a single problem, but a cluster of separate handicaps causing a sort of aggregate disability.

So, with that in mind, I would guess that anything resembling a "cure" is unlikely to surface anytime soon. Personally, if someone offered me a magic bullet pill tomorrow that would instantly make my brain function like a neurotypical brain, I would pass. As difficult as my condition has made my life, it is those very struggles and trials that have formed my personality. If those blocks were suddenly removed, I'm not sure who that would make me, but I don't think I would be myself anymore and I'm not willing to make that sacrifice.

I've seen the neurotypical world and observed the behaviors of its inhabitants for a long time and as painful as my isolation and alienation can be, I don't want to be one of them. I may seem odd to them, but I refuse to see myself as inferior, because I AM NOT. They may choose to accept or ignore me, but I refuse to change to make the NT world happy. Screw 'em if they can't take a joke.

Likely, the book you saw is touting some Behavioral Therapy psuedo-cure, involving forcing an Autistic child to behave in ways that are unnatural to them, in order to be accepted by parents who insist on having a "normal" child. I consider such techniques to be a form of psychological torture. You may be able to force changes in behavior, but that does nothing to alter the brain, which is hardwired with its own impulses and thought patterns. Behavioral Therapy only teaches the Autistic child that who they are is unacceptable and bad and that to be acceptable and good they must constantly be uncomfortable and second-guess themselves in everything they do and every decision they make, because the choice that seems natural to them is always WRONG. They'll get enough of that from the world, they don't need to get it from their family, too.

Or it could be selling some sort of quack treatment, some of which - like chelation - can be downright dangerous or even fatal.



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18 Jul 2013, 1:39 pm

Im different, but i'm not broken. You cant fix something that isn't broken. The problem is peoples attitude towards it. Autism is portrayed as something "terribly wrong", but that is far from the truth. Sadly though, far from enough people understand this. Most people don't believe they have to, as it will only be a passing curiosity in their life, but we have to live with it.



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18 Jul 2013, 2:11 pm

If there is a treatable cause for *some* persons on the Spectrum, my money would be on some autoimmune condition.

Now, I'm 50 years old. Me being "cured" would most definitely change my personality. It would be the equivalent of going cyborg. Any quote-unquote improvements to myself would need to be my free choice, and probably a series of medium steps, not some stupid all in one something.

=======

I think we can discuss medicine and at the same time advocate for Spectrum Rights. Yes, I want to be appreciated for the human being I am.



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18 Jul 2013, 2:19 pm

Willard, I think we probably have a lot of agreement on "Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA)." It does seem to be about the trappings of normality.

And the clear better alternative is engagement. We accept the child as he or she is, and the goal is to teach different ways to engage with the world in real ways.



populationone
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18 Jul 2013, 3:50 pm

DynamiteMonkey wrote:
Im different, but i'm not broken. You cant fix something that isn't broken. The problem is peoples attitude towards it. Autism is portrayed as something "terribly wrong", but that is far from the truth. Sadly though, far from enough people understand this. Most people don't believe they have to, as it will only be a passing curiosity in their life, but we have to live with it.


DM, I completely agree with you. You can't fix something that isn't broken. I'm pretty sure the book is a few years old. I haven't seen anything about autism in the news besides the figures. Wasn't it something like 1 in 3 newborn babies are born with autism and it's being blamed on mercury in the parents' diets? That doesn't make us different anymore, that makes us a mistake.

You have no idea how angry I just became. :x


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18 Jul 2013, 8:49 pm

Mercury has been pretty well looked into. If vaccines do cause *some* cases of autism, I think it's much more likely to be some funky autoimmune response.

And I want to be treated as a worthwhile human being whether or not I'm different! :jester:



populationone
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19 Jul 2013, 9:50 am

AardvarkGoodSwimmer wrote:
And I want to be treated as a worthwhile human being whether or not I'm different! :jester:


Amen! How'd you get the jester emoticon?


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AardvarkGoodSwimmer
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19 Jul 2013, 11:48 am

Hi, I click "View more Emoticons" which is available when you are actively writing a message (or let me preface that . . should he available for computers do funny things)

Or alternatively, type jester with a : both before and after



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19 Jul 2013, 1:06 pm

populationone wrote:
A few months ago I saw (and I'm going to try to type this in the most respectful way possible) a woman hugging 3 boys (her children I guess), with a smile so wide it must have been botoxed, on the front of a book in the library claiming that Autism and Asperger's could be cured/fixed. Does anyone know if there is any truth to that?

When I first saw it, I will admit I was a little pissed that she was comparing it to a disease. Right now, going through the struggles of just turning 18, I hate to say it but I'm starting to agree with her. :(


No, there is no cure and the cause (despite what some say) is still very unknown. There's a lot of talk about this on WP lately, but the thing that is most helpful is factual information about the spectrum and the most that these kinds of books have to offer is advice on how to handle the symptoms better. Some of them even have false information (which is probably where half of people's theories come from), so be careful of that too.
In the cases of AS (I myself was diagnosed by a specialist in the field), early intervention is the only real treatment, helping those with AS cope with the symptoms early in life will help them develop fairly normally. My brother is also diagnosed, but had the benefit of early intervention, so he functions a lot better than I do. He can hold a job, drive, etc. He even has a better time being social.

In any case, my point is, instead of looking to books that are written by authors who just want to sell an idea, it's better to instead look into medical manuals on the subject because you'll find better info and very little b.s. 9 times out of 10.


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20 Jul 2013, 4:27 am

Can it be cured? Maybe. None of us can tell because none of us are degree holding researchers in that field of science, nor can we see the future. Can it be cured now? No.



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20 Jul 2013, 12:00 pm

THe bigger question, honestly, is SHOULD it be cured...

any prenatal screening reeks of eugenics... any cure that that functions before the egg implants on the uterine wall makes us Genetically Modified Organisms...

Any Cure that is applied post birth needs to be considered carefully... as we have these difficulties, even if the faulty wiring is is corrected, we will still be habitual in our behaviors, and as such, a cure would do little for most of us.

I discuss this in depth in this BLOG ENTRY


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kzzrn
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20 Jul 2013, 5:01 pm

Feralucce wrote:
THe bigger question, honestly, is SHOULD it be cured...

any prenatal screening reeks of eugenics... any cure that that functions before the egg implants on the uterine wall makes us Genetically Modified Organisms...

Any Cure that is applied post birth needs to be considered carefully... as we have these difficulties, even if the faulty wiring is is corrected, we will still be habitual in our behaviors, and as such, a cure would do little for most of us.




With people on the lower end of the spectrum I would say definitely yes. On the higher end, maybe. In the end it doesn't matter too much, genetic engineering and cybernetics will be able to give everyone the chance to have our strengths without our weaknesses.