Parents Supporting Genocide For Autism?


It has become a constant growing fear for me that every time I open my mail alerts or surf the net I find yet another blog article promoting or seeking cures for autism and yet more panic evoking ideas that we have an “epidemic” of autism.
(see: http://kevinleitch.co.uk/wp/index.php?p=291)

But the horrors do not end there, there are also a growing number of parents who seem to be supporting and buying into ideas of scientific research which look into not only cures, but prevention via pre detection of the autistic genes in the fetus in view of abortionting any unborn child that carries the genes and with the view of eradicating autistic genes altogether. There lies a danger that not only would the world be fazing out a so called disability, but also fazing out our very heart of genius for change and innovation.

At what point do these become a human rights issues?

Its a bazaar thought to envisage a world full of 'normal people' I can't imagine it, since the term 'normal' is an ideological word fashioned by design for purposes of generality.


"The genetics of autism may turn out to be no simpler to unravel than the genetics of personality. I think what we'll end up with is something more like, 'Mrs. Smith, here are the results of your amnio. There's a 1 in 10 chance that you'll have an autistic child, or the next Bill Gates. Would you like to have an abortion?'"


* I must add that I cannot agree with the overall flavor of this Timesonline article, as an outline of autistics being factual geniuses and little else, my experience is quite the contrary, but for the sake of this particular blog have decided to leave the link in any case.


"What I fear is two-fold. By pandering to this continuing association with vaccines, autism research risks getting sucked into a biomedical dead end. Its tempting to follow that path (and as Dad to an autistic child I did indeed follow that path for awhile) but it offers no answers and as evidenced above, that path can lead to some very nasty places. People lie in wait like predators, ready to take advantage of your ignorance and charge you to the hilt for the pleasure. I urge all parents to question the motives of anyone linked to the non-scientific treatment of autism. There is often a heavy financial price to pay and sometimes a heart breaking non-financial one. My other fear is that by allowing people like this to discard our autistic children as the results of an 'epidemic' or a 'living hell' or to describe our kids as 'lost' (my daughter is right where I left her!) we create even more negativity about a condition that already carries a heavy load of stigmatising misinformation. What I would hope for my daughter is that she remains free from people attempting to 'cure' her and that we as a society can progress to a point where people like my daughter can be free to be who they are, receive treatment for the debilitating accompanying conditions that sometimes come with autism and that autism can be seen as a difference more than a disability."
Kevin Leitch


"When confronted with an autistic child, many non-autistic parents, or even autistic parents whose belief system has been formed by a predominantly non-autistic world, have no idea what to do. They have all the good intentions they would have with their non-autistic kids, but they have fewer instincts for how their autistic kids operate. They may not know what growth looks like in an autistic kid. They may know so little about what growth looks like in an autistic kid that they mistake it for something they call regression, and panic."


"The cure mentality places great pressure on parents to rush into interventions. Then there is the guilt. Was there something I did or didn’t do that caused the autism in my child? Can I put it right.? How can I not put it right? Instead of raising your child you can spend all your time trying to fix him. One mother’s story illustrates this.

Olivia was four when Liz finally faced up to the diagnosis, wracked with guilt that, having given birth to her at the age of 42, she was somehow responsible for her child’s problems, either directly or as a result of a pre-natal diagnostic test (amniocentesis) that went wrong.

Her way of dealing with this lonely burden was to take action. “I wanted to rip the autism out of Olivia with my bare hands,” she says. In the years that followed, she whirled her daughter from one therapist to another, trying everything from cranial osteopathy and “brushing” her nerve endings, to Portage - a method of teaching everything in tiny steps.

“Every practitioner is convinced that his or her treatment is the one and you feel compelled to try everything to find the one that will open up your child. I have seen children who have made remarkable improvements, but I would never say they have been cured or recovered.”

Having reached a state of mind where, even if she could, she would not change Olivia, she tries to concentrate on the good qualities that come with autism - honesty, uncompetitiveness, absence of spite.

Embracing Neurodiversity allows you to stop looking for a cure because there isn’t one. I agree with the Autism Society of America that,

Most of the enlightened world knows that autism is at its root, genetic, and therefore by definition it is not something that can be considered “curable” or a “disease.”

Giving up on a cure is not the same as giving up on your child. In fact it can help you to take a more balanced approach. It is easier to reflect on your child’s strengths as well as their difficulties and take up Lorna Wing’s advice that,

an autistic child can only be helped if a serious attempt is made to see the world from his point of view.

Sometimes our biggest problem lies with other people. One mother gave me permission to quote something she wrote in an email about autism and acceptance.

I think that it’s a bit insulting sometimes for people, especially family and friends, to try to give me information about how to make my son be a ‘bit less autistic’. It makes me think they want a short-cut to make him more acceptable. I’d prefer it if they tried to connect with him and enjoy him as he is. Then they’d really be able to help him to progress."

No comments: