Let’s talk about a cure

I have had many conversations with parents and family members who have spoken about their undying love for their children and adult family diagnosed with autism. Despite any challenges, there is no shortage of affection. I read an article today that talked about the offensiveness of using the word “cure” when it comes to autism. To some outside the community an autism cure seems like an ideal situation. But within the disabilities community there is some debate about the “need” for an autism cure or a cure for any disability. Some within the community feel that the focus should be on acceptance of neurological differences.

For example, the word cure was in a  White House statement. After the White House was lit with blue lights in recognition of Autism Awareness Month, the statement referenced supporting “cures” and new treatments. A self-advocacy group deemed the word “cure” disturbing and proclaimed that it marginalized autistic people. To put this in context, the group felt that it moved away from efforts to promote acceptance and inclusion.

A few questions…

If a cure for any illness or disability were available, would we not want it? Does changing the terminology from “cure” to “promoting solutions” matter? Aren’t people diagnosed with autism rather than “autistic people”? Do we not want to cure cancer? Cure Alzheimer’s? Cure drug addiction? Do we want solutions for autism spectrum disorders or a cure? Or do we want both? Since we’re all family here at Seth’s Mom, let’s discuss.


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External resources

Administration for Community Living

Pathfinders for Autism

Disability Scoop