A parents question, Would you lose the Autism if you could?
I was talking to someone yesterday who had asked me what causes Autism. How is it treated and is it curable. This is an interesting debate for sure and I am not an expert in the field of Autism. I am simply a father of a 7 year old autistic boy and an uncle to a 6 year old Autistic boy. Both born in New Jersey where we have the highest rate of Autism in the country. It's scary, that's the bottom line. Autism knows no boundaries when it comes to who it affects. It is not important the color of your skin, how much money you make, where you live, or what religious affiliation you have, as Autism doesn't care. It crosses all lines and touches everyone.
The spectrum is large and autism can be mild or severe. It affects everyone differently. While there are similar traits, each child is an individual. As parents we all believe that no matter the issue our child is perfect. We love them unconditionally and even if we could, we would not change them. I have read many articles and posts from parents on the web how they believe their child is a gift from god and no matter what they would not change it. My own mother used to say "God only gives you what you can handle." The reality for me, this can't be correct. I am sorry but it just can't be.
When Aidan was much younger he didn't speak. He lost his voice to the Autism. It was heartbreaking to say the least. If he was sick or in pain he was not able to express it. He couldn't tell us what he wanted, couldn't say good night or good morning, just couldn't speak. I am only speaking for myself here when I say it was devastating to me, I struggled with it. I was depressed over not being able to fix it, cure it, and the thought that I could not have a conversation with my son was just a bit overwhelming.
Working with therapists, Aidan learned to use sign language to communicate. He also use to pull me to what he wanted and place my hand on things. To say this was frustrating would be an understatement. He would show love through hugs or kisses, and you could see he was happy through his smiles. Many children on the autism spectrum are just like this. They simply don't or can't speak. It is difficult and frustrating and scary at times, having a child who has no voice. Mostly its heartbreaking.
So I ask you as a parent, who could possibly not want to know what causes autism. How can it be stopped? How can it be prevented? And of course the big debate, how can it be cured? People say they don't need a cure. Autism is a disability, there's nothing wrong, they just process differently and I get it. But if you're being honest with yourself, if you are a parent, do you not want to hear the words from your child? Do you not want to ever hear I love you, I'm hungry, can I have a drink, I need to go to the bathroom, I don't feel good, can you play with me? When you hear someone singing beautifully do you not secretly wish your child had a voice like that? Isn't this normal to think?
So back to the real question. If your child could lose the Autism in them, could be the person they are but could speak, could lose the melt downs, be mainstream, have an easier time with their peers, perhaps lose the other health issues that seems to come along as Autism's side kicks like seizures. If there was a magic pill to cure the disease or take away the disability (depending on your view here) would you give it? Would you take away the autism? Would you change God's little miracle so when they grow up, their lives are easier? For me, I love all three of my sons more then life itself, but if I could lose the autism in Aidan, there's nothing to think about. The answer is YES.