In some ways, I am hesitant when it comes to writing about this. The subject of a ‘cure’ for autism and whether it is both viable and acceptable has been hotly debated for some time, with many on and off the spectrum citing the reasons for and against it.
I, for one, am thoroughly against it; but don’t take that as an ultimatum. I never deal in ultimatums and respect the opinions of everyone who reads this. My condition is high-functioning, meaning that I tend to have less difficulty excelling socially, practically and academically than those who are low-functioning. Whilst I struggle with the concept of socializing, have a plethora of unusual special interests and have a hard time with a variety of practical tasks, I am nonetheless helped rather than hindered by many of my autistic traits. For the most part, I live what might be considered a ‘normal’ life: I have a job and a reasonable number of friends, I date on occasions and am rarely considered to be especially ‘different’ by others. Since autism is invisible and does not have a ‘look’, I appear to most people as just a quietly-spoken man with a few quirks. I don’t regularly experience meltdowns as so many others on the spectrum do.
But here’s the crux for why I would personally eschew any kind of cure at all costs.
Let’s assume for the sake of argument that I had been given a cure. My special interests are important to me and define a large part of my personality. To lose the intensity of those interests (which are intense as a result of me having Aspergers) and to have them reduced to a somewhat more ‘normal’ level would be utterly intrusive and destructive to me as an individual. It would be as if a stranger had taken over my mind and altered the very foundation of how it works. I wouldn’t know myself. I would be starting over; and the fact is that I like the way my mind works, far more than I dislike it.
If you thoroughly dislike autism for how it affects your life, then perhaps the cure is for you. But if such a cure existed, I wouldn’t take it unless I was forced down kicking and screaming.