Monday, October 26, 2009

Everyone wants a cure for autism?

I see that the pharmaceutical company Pfizer has started a new autism unit devoted to trying to find drug treatments or possibly even a cure for autism. Diane Stephenson one of the Pfizer research associates who has started this unit has an autistic nephew who at age 23 has never spoken a word. She also has another younger nephew and niece who have autism, who are the children of another sibling of hers. This has motivated her to do research to find help for these individuals as well as others on the spectrum.

I found the following quote from the article particularly interesting:

"Everyone wants a cure,"(emphasis added) said Stephenson, who has worked at the Groton labs for six years. "I felt there was something I could do."

Apparently Ms. Stephenson has never heard of the neurodiversity movement. I wonder what this scientist who has a 23 year old autistic nephew who is completely nonverbal would say, if she discovered there is a cult of individuals who are opposed to curing autism. A cult who believes that to cure someone of this disease is stripping them of their humanity. Who teach 16 year old kids that wanting your loved ones to have the ability to speak who don't have it is "disgusting drivel". Who claim that parents of autistic children who want a cure for their children are like members of the Ku Klux Klan who are forced to raise black children. I wonder what Ms. Stephenson's reaction would be if she found out that a half million dollar grant was given by the major private sector funder of autism research to a man claiming the goal of curing autism is nonsensical, who also said that autism is not a dysfunction or disorder but merely a difference and has written that autism isn't harmful.

What would Ms. Stephenson think if she found out, an eminent experimental psychologist who gets extensive funding from the government has written that her nonverbal nephew needs acceptance and not a cure and that this psychologist claimed personal experience with autism by having a son with the condition. Unlike Ms. Stephenson's nonverbal nephew at 23, the psychologist's son is a high school senior at age 12.

I wonder what the Pfizer scientist would think if she found out that a 21-year-old kid with virtually no life experience was claiming that it was a myth that her nonverbal nephew had no hope and no future.

I can't imagine what her reaction (0r her nephew's) would be if she found out there was a group of people who claim the reason that some autistic people wish a cure for their condition is because their mother taught them to hate themselves.

Well, there is an old saying, ignorance is bliss.


farmwifetwo said...

Why is it "ok" for any other condition to look for a cure but those with Autistic disorder deserve to live at the mercy of the system?? Just so those with little to no symptoms can run around and claim they don't wish to be cured.

Also, where does curing start?? My children are in school, learning to read, speak, have friends, go to karate, scouts, swimming, gymnastics, library programs... is this not "curing"?? Yet, Estee says today again that it's not b/c her son is learning to play piano... is it not a form of therapy?? If she's talking "acceptance" why is she pushing an education for her son?? Is this not curing??

I can guarantee you my eldest does not want to be like his younger bro... although younger bro's popping words and phrases lately that have me floored at their complexity and frequency... and he'll flat out tell you "I do not have autism my brother does".

Why is it ok to treat the one end of the spectrum with a "shut up and sit there and be quiet" so the other can go "I deserves special treatment because I want to live outside of society"??


I can guarantee you, if little boy ever starts to speak constantly, ever manages to go to camp independantly, ever manages to have a best friend come for a sleep over, ever manages to get married, have a job.... He will never say "Autism was glorious". Nor will he offer to go back to the life he had as a child.

Adrianna said...

"Also, where does curing start?? My children are in school, learning to read, speak, have friends, go to karate, scouts, swimming, gymnastics, library programs... is this not "curing"?? Yet, Estee says today again that it's not b/c her son is learning to play piano... is it not a form of therapy?? If she's talking "acceptance" why is she pushing an education for her son?? Is this not curing??"

I agree 100%. Why should the privilege, nay, the right, to reach one's full potential be reserved for the nonautistic?

Let's say a person really wants to join the softball team but doesn't have such good hand-eye coordination. She can practice and have someone teach her techniques on how to improve her batting average. Would we consider her a betrayal of the sports-disinclined community? Of course not.

How is that any different from teaching an autistic person how to speak? It's not. In both cases, people are striving, with help, to reach their full potential, whatever that potential might be.

Note, also, that this hypothetical girl didn't suddenly become a varsity college softball player. And she probably wll never be one of those. She has, however, shown improvement and can now play on the local rec team. And there's nothing wrong with that.

Jake Crosby said...

A pharmaceutical company to take on know what that means: More psychotropic drugs!

lurker said...

I wonder if ND tries to use the lack of awareness that others have of their existence to their advantage, by trying to undermine efforts towards cure from behind the scenes in ways that may not be detected.

It seems to me they're against drastic therapies/cures that really involve altering the brain in a way that increases aptitude. They're basically against increasing potential and want others to get by on however much they have. I think they try to seem favorable to others when they say they aren't against all therapy, even though they disregard that the existing therapies don't help enough for all on the spectrum, that many would still end up with a lot of disability, and that a lot of inequality in ability within the spectrum would remain.

Anonymous said...

Want to see what some people with Asperger's or high-functioning autism with impaired expressive and/or receptive language sound like?

Once the viewers are done watching the video, they'll see why we need a cure and why ND sucks.

Anonymous said...

And this link explains what it must feel like for those losers in the video link above to feel like a loser. The photo in this link also describes me (in particular) and many of the ND proponents' lives.

John Best said...

Does anyone besides me wonder why David Kirby is opposed to curing autism? He said so in his book.

Does anyone wonder why TACA claims to be for curing autism but only tells people to address a symptom of food intolerances rather than removing the mercury that caused the food intolerance and messed up the gut?

The propaganda comes from both sides. "My side" ignores key facts about mercury while the ND's call chelation murder. It's two opposite forces squeezing the middle.

I see it. When will everyone else see it?