Home » Open Letter: Please Don’t Try to “Cure” My Child with Autism
My child with autism – all three of them – are amazing. Talk with most autism parents – there’s nothing more personal to a parent than talking about their child, and if they have a child with autism that’s even more true.
Sometimes, though, well-meaning folks don’t stop to think before they pass along something ‘wonderful’ that they have read. And if you have a child with autism, let’s just be honest here – life’s rough enough without being hit in the face every day with how other people think you should do better for your child.
The other day I received a message on Facebook from a friend about someone’s newest way to “recover their child” from Autism. I’d say I receive a Facebook message or email, even sometimes find these sentiments in face to face conversation, at least once per week.
But …So here’s the thing. I’m a nice person. I like to keep the balance, look at things from all sides of the coin, be unbiased about one new treatment or another.
But, when it comes to our children, please don’t be the next person trying to tell me how to cure or recover my child with autism, any of the three of them.
I’m done playing peacemaker, and finished playing nice.
Autism is a neurological disorder of the brain. WebMD says it is “…a brain disorder that often makes it hard to communicate with and relate to others. With autism, the different areas of the brain fail to work together.”
To me, beyond the diagnosis, autism is part of the fabric that makes up this family. It allows one child to ask insistent questions about the world around him and never have enough answers. It allows another to work at least twice as hard as others to fit in with his classmates, even after overcoming all obstacles academically. And it allows one to finally … finally … be finding his voice in a unique and hopeful way at eight years old.
Our boys are autistic, it is part of who they are. Autism has colored all their memories of this world, the people they’ve met, and the people they have yet to meet.
But it’s part of who they are. I could no less take autism away from Bobby than I could dim his amazing smile. I couldn’t strip autism from the equation with Logan any more than I could stop him from giggling at the world around him. And I couldn’t pull autism from Andy any more than I could take his earnestness and goofy playing voices.
Autism is a part of who my children are. The very unique and amazing little men they are becoming.
Yes, sometimes autism is like a disease that takes our children’s ability to communicate, to deal with the world around them.
But that’s life. Autism is a part of that life. It’s a part of them.
Autism is NOT a disease like some cold. And the only treatment scientifically proven to help children diagnosed autistic is not a cure or even a type of recovery – it’s therapy and hard work, and sometimes emotionally scarring for the child to go through (according to some autistics who’ve written about it).
Autism is NOT a death sentence, and does NOT have to mean a child can’t function in society.
Autism is NOT an evil entity that devours our children, no matter how frustrated and angry the symptoms of autism can sometimes make us as we try to help our children.
Autism is NOT my child, but it IS a part of who they are. You can’t cure or recover a child who sees their world differently.
Sometimes, you have to look at the world a little differently to see how amazing children with autism are.
Your Turn: I realize not everyone will agree with me about how I view my children’s autism. I’d love to hear from you, regardless of whether you agree with my thoughts or not. I only ask the conversation remains respectful.