Please Stop Trying to “Cure” my Autistic Kid

Once again, I read a news story with headlines like “WOW! Cure your kid with this hocus-pocus crap!

Okay, so that’s not the real headline, but that’s what this headline says to me. “Nasal spray offers scent of autism remedy” (actual headline). I’m not linking to the article with that title because it’s an Examiner article, and well, we all know they just want the pageviews so they make up crazy stupid headlines like that to get clicks.

The ACTUAL story is this one – “Nasal spray may be able to help autistic children”  Funny how just the wording makes all the difference as to my emotions towards the article and whether or not I’ll get pissy and turn to the interwebz. ;)

Here is the deal. I don’t want to “cure” my child of autism.

What I do want is for society in general to stop labeling kids/people because of their differences.

Hey, a girl can dream right?!

Take me, for example. I have flaming red hair. I got teased and mocked as a child to the point I was dying my hair in high school to cover up the fact I was “different”. Now? I love it. Embrace it! My middle son has hair that, he says, isn’t even red, it’s Orange! He’s proud of it! Loves it!  Then we watch an old episode of Scrubs (LOVE, btw) and the main girl, Elliot, has a fear of red-headed boys and I now have to explain to my son that it was just a joke, but he doesn’t get it and is saddened someone would be fearful of him just because of his hair color.

 

Just the other night on a new show The New Normal (also love!) they are trying to have a baby and worried about spina bifida and other genetic issues and one of their fears for the child is that it will have red hair and go on to say red heads are the devil. Now I’ll still watch the show, but comments like that hurt.

Back to autism…

Stop trying to "cure" my kid of autism

So now it apparently is “all the rage” to be autistic. I have had some people say it’s “The new ADHD, every kid will get diagnosed with it.” Wow. Really? Every kid? Huh. Now that you say that, I hope it’s true, because only then will people become more accepting of it.

I’ve had people tell me, “But he doesn’t LOOK autistic.”  Again, wow. What does an autistic kid look like then?

“But he makes eye contact, so he must have something else.” Well, eye contact is only one of the many markers of autism and he makes eye contact because he’s been getting 20+ hours of therapy a week since he was 14 months old. We’ve worked damn hard for that eye contact thankyouverymuch.

“Hey, did you see the study of [insert crappy viral article here] that will cure your kid of his autism?!” Thanks, but no thanks. Again, I don’t want to “cure” him. He’s perfect the way he is. Yes, we are doing therapy to help him function more “normally” but for my son that means teaching how to talk or go down stairs unassisted or run without falling or even as simple as to how to chew and swallow food.

Not every autistic kid is the same. Nor should they be.

So please, if you are talking to a family of a kid who you perceive as “awkward” or “not normal”, don’t be so quick to label them. I’m sure their parents love that child wholeheartedly and don’t really care what you think of him/her.

 

Emily

Fueled by coffee and wine. Wife to a doc, mom to three boys (one with Autism), self-proclaimed tortoise wrangler. I knit, I get crafty, I tweet.

Comments

  1. Jessica Carrillo says

    I totally agree with you, if a “magic pill or cure was to suddenly appear I don’t think I would give it to my son. Not because I don’t love him with all my heart …because I love HIM with all my heart, and would be afraid it would change his beautiful vivid imagination that he has and his sweet and innocent disposition. Autism doesn’t define my son but it does shape some of his characteristics, such as, sensitivity, being non judgmental, imaginative, passionate etc. I truly believe that he was given as a gift to us from God and God doesn’t make mistakes, he makes miracles and my son is a miracle just the way he is. He has made me and my husband look at the world around us in a different and more passionate way. My son’s love of anything Disney, monorails and elevators has made us love and be interested in these things also, where as with out my son we would take all of this for granted. Heck ,our more fun times are just going to the mall and riding the elevators and escalators just to see our son’s face light up with joy and wonder. It has brought us closer as a family, and able to enjoy the simple things and never ever take anything for granted. So for that I am thankful that my son is the way he is and would not change him for the world.

  2. Carmen says

    Seems like we think alike. My child attends a school that is only for autistic children. Some of the parents get together once a week, and to be honest I was shocked to hear of different medications some of these parents had their kids on. It’s like really? Maybe that new medication is causing your child’s new stool problems, or lack of sleep. I only attented 2 meetings and that was it for me. We shouldn’t try to fix our children just help them I guess like you said function “normal” in this world of ours. My child is 100% medication free and we are going to keep it that way. The only thing I have changed is his diet. Everything is homemade and I use more organic and GF products. I am glad I came upon your site :)

  3. Eris Wilson says

    I just came across your blog, and have enjoyed reading several posts, this one touched me so I couldn’t resist posting. You said so perfectly what I feel. The anger and sadness I feel when someone expresses that my son needs to be ‘cured’, cured of what- being amazing?? Do I wish to lighten the load of his challenges, of course, do I wish I could lessen the all consuming need to play pretend with mom 14 hours a day…ummm, YES. :) but to take away the autism that makes him who he is, NO.

    And I couldn’t help but lol about the comment above and the Facial Social emotional test. Last week was triannual IEP…he did very well on that test. I really don’t get why that is shocking to the school psych given that he has been in ABA for going on 6.5 years now…

  4. Kathleen says

    THANK YOU! I have been saying the exact same thing about all the latest “cures” for the last 14 years. Sorry that it hasn’t gotten better for you. Awareness has improved so that people often realize there is more than “poor parenting” going on. Hang in there and keep on keeping on!

  5. says

    Remember drama sells, you have a very valid point. But they know that they need a headline that captures the public and drag them into the article.

    Just hang in there and be patient, some people can be inconsiderate towards to others.

  6. says

    Hey there! Just happened upon your post. I’m a teacher in a multi-grade classroom. I have about half of my class being the typical left brain learner while the other half has high-functioning autism, dyslexia, dysgraphia, ADD, ADHD, auditory processing, severe anxiety and more. I wish these kids had only one label: unusually gifted and talented. I wish I had all the freedom (for a school I do have a lot of freedom) to do exactly what I wanted with my students. I’m sure it would look like a chaotic mess but that’s cool with me. I would educate the artists through art, the musicians through music, the builders through blocks/legos/etc. and well, you get the picture. I spent my children’s younger years trying to fit them in a box and I really regret it but learned a lot. My daughter is an artist and it’s her passion. All I care about now is giving her art tools and teaching her with life lessons. I want to do the same in my classroom. What would a parent of gifted children feel about a classroom like that??

  7. Marie Folmar says

    OMG…I could write the same thing about Dyslexia! Just BUY *this* and it will CURE your child of dyslexia. The best was the one that told my parents they could cure her over the phone!

  8. says

    Love this! My daughter has had several labels and more would have been put on her but she still received the same therapy. She’s the joy of my life. Sweet special spirit.

  9. Faith says

    I have had 4 different kids with Autism or Asbergers (or at least 4, thus diagnosed as such) in my classroom over the years. Each one has been as nifty or quirky as they were intended to be. And each one gave us experiences in our classroom family that we would have not had before. It’s the quirky kids I remember the most (maybe because my own personal 2 kids are the same?) I get so frustrated with teacher who try to help “fix” them… they’re not broken!!

  10. says

    Hell yeah. My son is a little older than your kids, he’s in third grade and eleven billion “this is what a happy face looks like. This is what an angry face looks like” books/magazines/practice and he can finally connect facial expressions with feelings after nine years… but just today I had a mildly annoying conversation with a social worker at school about it and she wondered if he wasn’t really autistic anymore because he passed the facial social emotional whatever test (’cause then they don’t have to do his IEP, blah blah blah). No, he isn’t cured. Nor do I want him to be. I just want him to be accepted as himself.

    Resonated loud and clear over here, girl!

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