The Stigma of an Autism Cure

Autism is a spectrum disorder: people with it are typically described as high functioning or low functioning. High functioning people have a lot of things figured out as far as being img_0171independent and participating in everyday life without requiring help. This includes
people with what used to be called Asperger’s Syndrome; “Aspies” have challenges with social interaction and maybe even fine motor skills and communication, but a lot of their personality is tied to their “quirks” and unique mannerisms. It’s common for autism to become a part of an Aspie’s identity, which leads to them not wanting to be “cured”.

Autism is like snowflakes — there are no two people with exactly the same challenges and needs

Low-functioning people have it rougher. Completing tasks like eating, getting dressed, and speaking are gargantuan challenges for these people. The debate about an autism cure started because parents of low-functioning people are concerned for their children’s way of living. The majority of organizations mentioned earlier are created, and in large part funded by, these parents. They don’t have bad intentions, but are perhaps unaware of the stigmatizing effects.

Autism is portrayed by these organizations as though they’re describing a virus. It’s often perceived as a clinical or genetic disease that needs to be expunged from people because of the root of all the problems is the disorder itself. Parents of autistic children are shown as people who live in constant suffering and disappointment. Autistic people are seen as needy and burdens to everyone around them, and this toxic way of interpreting the situation is very often propagated by these organizations.

The way we perceive autism as a society should be accepted as a greater part of a person’s unique self.

The way we perceive autism as a society should be re-examined: it isn’t a problem that needs to be exterminated on sight, but accepted as a greater part of a person’s unique self. As a matter of fact, this type of dismissiveness breeds self-stigma. People with Asperger’s and autism feel worthless when they’re exposed to messages such as these. It gives credence to the idea that they, as people, are disposable, and only exist to let their parents and peers down. It’s important for people to understand the effects of these types of messages and get a better sense for how this impacts the way autistic people view themselves.


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