Saturday, March 2, 2013

Autism: Why Prevention is Not Better than Cure


Autism rates have been seen as going up in the past few years in the United States, or if not at least being recognized more.  The people who want to cure it are often rebuffed by activists, particularly autistic people, who say they don’t want to be “cured” because they deserve to be respected for the content of their character, rather than their abilities.  One group of people in on all this is the people who want to prevent autism, rather than cure it.  While they do not exactly seem one hundred percent in the same class as the curebies, most autistics, including myself, would not consider their views to be any better.  Both seem to believe in a world where there are no autistic people, whether in the future or in the present.  How would it be for a group of people to imagine the world with no gays or no blacks?  Some may say that prevention is wished for as a result of compassion, wishing autistic people not to suffer discrimination.  But we also cannot overlook the fact that the people advocating prevention, like the curebies, seem to hold autistic people accountable for their suffering, rather than the people who discriminate against them.  Real respect for any group of people would mean giving them the same rights as any other group and respecting its individuals for the content of their character, not their abilities, or lack of thereof, in both present and future.  Real respect for a group of people such as people with autism means they can be on this earth for the rest of time and don’t have to change to be respected while others can do so and remain the same.  Anything else would be only partial respect or a total lack of it.  Did Rosa Parks risk going to jail so that Americans would all be partially equal?  Did Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X risk their lives so African Americans would be partially integrated?  No.  It seems all these individuals put themselves at great risk so others good know real genuine equality and integrity, even if it did not occur in their lifetimes, which means respect for the rights of people that is not dependent on them becoming more like their societies majority, or minority for that matter, at all times.  You have only two choices.  You either have un-fake respect for people with autism, or you don’t.
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