David is my teenage son and autistic. When first diagnosed at the age of three, the doctor told me he would never develop mentally. However, over the years he has evolved within his own world. Here, I hope to tell of some of the strange but sometimes wonderful things about him and hopefully give a little insight and understanding into living with autism.

The title of this piece asks, Is There A Cure For Autism? Right, now that I have your attention, I shall explain.

I attended a talk in Shrewsbury about Aspergers Syndrome, last night. Delivered by Sara Heath and Eric Loveland Heath, it was excellent.

Yes, I do already know more than most about the subject due to David’s severe autism, plus his younger brother, Matthew, who has Aspergers. Still, it is always interesting to experience more, if only to see how little awareness there is in others concerning the subject.

Two talks, followed by questions and right towards the end, I heard the one I had been expecting all night.

“Can it be cured?”

Now I could tell from the tone of voice and general nature, there was no malice or distaste in the enquiry, just a lack of understanding. It’s quite common, especially concerning Aspergers. So very little is known. To make the point, I typed this entry using a Word Document and even Spellchecker doesn’t recognise the word, Aspergers.

So is there a cure for autism? Simple answer – No. You see, to have a cure for something, there has to be an illness in the first place. Autism isn’t an illness, it is a condition. Who the person with it, is. So we get that technicality out the way but it’s not so straightforward. You see, there is always going to be a lobby which is obsessed with trying to find a cure for a lifestyle needing none. This is more prevalent in the States where parents with autistic children are bombarded with one bullshit treatment after another and these being nothing more than quack, money-making schemes such as homeopathy and the ilk.

Sure, you can have treatment to adapt and live with the condition but if there was an actual cure, would I want it for my children? Again – No.

David is 20. He has his faults and shortfalls, but exists in David’s World. He is his own person. What is it the healers are suggesting, some operation to remove the autism and change the person into what they consider to be normal? What that would do to both David and Matthew is kill the person they are. Remove every trace of what has built up over the years and replace it with a different personality. An alien.

And why the hell would anybody want to do that?

Cheers.

Nick

Living with David, and Matthew © Antony N Britt

David and Matthew, both quite happy being the people they are, thank you very much.

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