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Fighting For… A Cure?

A few days ago I saw a tweet that made me scratch my head. The tweet in question led to a story on children who were “growing out of” autism. I won’t go so far as to say I found the article insulting, but I do think that the article is slightly misguided.

I look at autism as a condition that doesn’t really have a cure or a resolution. Granted, patients with autism can improve, especially in cases of higher-functioning individuals. Children with autism can be coached, their behavior modified through therapy where necessary, in order to move closer towards what most people would consider “normalcy.” Medications are available to aid in lowering anxiety levels. However, none of these things are “curing” autism. They are simply making the condition more managable.

Considering autism as something that can be cured is a mistake, in my opinion. It’s not an infection that can be erradicated with proper medication and/or therapies. It’s more of a situation that one must adapt to. For example – take limb amputation. Physical therapy and prosthetics can help patients manage their situation, but their limbs do not magically grow back. They are not “cured.”

So what is our goal? What are we working towards with research and testing? I think looking to “solve” autism is misguided. We should be focusing more on awareness and understanding, not prevention or a cure.