Some people say that we don’t need a cure for autism because it isn’t a disorder, and that people are just different. Well, forget that! A legitimate cure would have been so damn nice when my brother was diagnosed with autism. I know that there are high functioning and extremely intelligent autistic individuals out there that love themselves and wouldn’t want to change things, but they are not the majority. Also, about 10% of autistic individuals are savants. This means that they are extremely talented in one or more subjects/activities. Again, this is not majority. The majority of autistic people are medium to low functioning and these cases are what my post is about. In many cases, mental retardation accompanies autism. My brother has medium functioning autism with medium mental retardation. I’m not trying to offend anyone, I’m just stating the facts.
When my brother was young, he was mostly taken care of by my mom. It was a very emotionally taxing ordeal for her. I remember that when he was 7 years old, he wasn’t potty trained. His verbal ability is extremely limited, so communication was scarce and his attempts to communicate were hard to decipher. I forget, what his IQ was but it was in the 30-80 range. Sometimes, he would throw tantrums and not move from one place so my mom would have to wrestle with him to get him back into the house. Out of all the ordeals she went through, I truly believe the worst one was that he would never show affection. For me, I was heart broken that he wasn’t really able to be a true brother. I so badly wanted a sibling that I could talk and relate to, a brother that I can experience family life with. But I had no sibling companionship since he wasn’t able to do something like that. Life was lonely for me back then. And then when my brother was 8, my parents divorced. I lived with my dad and my brother went off to a special home. Why did he go off to a home? Well my mom had to work full time to support herself and couldn’t possibly be a full time caretaker for my brother. And my dad had to do the same of course. But still, I can really understand couples who send their children to these homes because raising an autistic kid can make them quite mentally unstable. Sadly to say, my brother’s future is uncertain and government programs are inadequate.
To say the least, I hate autism and would love a cure that can be administered to young children. Don’t tell me that the desire for a cure is wrong. It’s not okay that my brother cant tell us his wants and needs. It’s not okay that sometimes, he cries and when we ask him what’s wrong, he doesn’t have the ability to communicate with us. It’s heartbreaking for all of us to see someone so important to us to be deprived of so much. It’s not a crime for us to want more for him. Don’t pretend that autism is a blessing. Would you wish autism for yourself and others? I don’t think so. He deserves to live a normal life like everyone else. Don’t take that hope away from future autistic kids.
Note: This is NOT a post about high functioning individuals with autism.