As I have moved from awareness to acceptance, one issue confused me. I understood advocates’ objections to seeking cures for autism, but I wasn’t sure if treatment was completely forbidden. What I came to understand is that I have to examine my motivations for seeking therapy for Philip and really look at the desired outcomes. If I have Philip in therapy so he learns to act normal, that isn’t acceptance.
Take for example speech therapy. I’ll be honest and admit that I get very excited every time Philip speaks a new word. But my goal isn’t for Philip to talk so seems less autistic. Ever since he received his iPad my hope for him is that he will have a tool to communicate. My desired outcome for his speech therapy is to be able to express his wants, indicate his needs and shares his ideas. If he uses AAC (augmentative and alternative communication) for the rest of his life, I won’t be sad. I’ll be grateful to everyone that helped him find a voice, even if that voice comes from a communication device.
It is okay to acknowledge the challenges and to consider autism a disability. It is not okay to spend hours in treatment trying to disguise these facts . Therapy should be used to lessen the effects, not the person.
As usual, I’m not saying another new. Yesterday, another parent blogger wrote (quite eloquently) on the same topic. I hope you take the time to read her post, as well as the articles written by autistics linked throughout this post.