To the layman, it is hard to understand how controversies can exist over what autism is and how it should be treated.
They do exist, and they create tremendous division where there should be unity.
The largest divide is the one between parents of autistic children and autistic adults.
Many, but not all, parents of autistic children say, “We want a cure! This is a terrible disease that is tearing our family apart.”
Many autistic adults say, “We don’t want to be cured, we just want to be understood.”
Autistic adults offer advice to help parents understand why their children behave the way they do. The parents claim that their child is different, there is no hope for a normal life, and thus, a cure is mandatory.
Parents of autistic children say that their lives are a living hell. They work many hours to pay for expensive therapies and spend their evenings struggling to deal with difficult behaviors they don’t understand.
Autistic adults remember being just as frustrated when they were children and how they acted out because they couldn’t deal with sensory overloads and sudden changes in routines.
They also remember witnessing the frustration their parents felt and beg other parents to be careful what they say to their children, as they often understand the words, but are unable to respond.
It is sad that such a divide exists in a community that grows larger every day. It is counterproductive to solving the problems that autistic parents, adults and children face daily.
Add to that, a growing group of people who claim autism does not exist, and is used to conveniently excuse bad parenting or rude behavior, and you have laid the groundwork to separate two struggling groups who should be on the same team.
This is beginning to change as autistic children, once thought to be unreachable, are growing up and entering the work force.
Some manage entry level jobs, while others write books and start their own businesses.
When it comes to autism, nothing can be taken for granted.
If parents and autistic adults could hear each other out without judgment or anger, much more could be accomplished, and the future would be brighter, with more success stories and happy endings.