I Do Not Want To Cure My Special Needs Kid
This is a post in the weekly Autism Hopes series by Lisa Quinones-Fontanez, a mom who blogs over at AutismWonderland.
“Do you hope there will be a cure for autism?”
It’s a heavy question. It’s one of those questions where if you ask ten different parents, you’ll get ten different answers. And it’s not the kind of question that parents can answer with a simple yes or no.
Last month, the FDA approved a groundbreaking “clinical trial to assess the use of a child’s own cord blood stem cells to treat select patients with autism.”
And when a friend sent me this article, I knew she was excited to share the news “about the possible cure for autism” by the number of exclamation points. I didn’t have the heart to respond.
Because when I think of cure, I think of disease, of sickness. I don’t think of Norrin as being sick. And I don’t think of autism as a disease in need of cure. When I think of disease, I think of suffering and pain. My son Norrin with his dimpled cheeks, his infectious laughter, his sweet disposition, his eagerness and willingness to learn – suffers from nothing.
When I think of the contributions to society made by Autism Heroes – Lewis Carroll, Albert Einstein, Andy Warhol, Sir Isaac Newton, Temple Grandin and so many others – why would anyone want to cure autism? And with all the of debates surrounding cause, cure and prevention of autism, I wonder – where would we be without autism? I’m not so sure a cure is the answer.
Autism needs intensive therapies, specialized programs, specific methodologies to meet the unique needs of each child and adult. Autism needs patience. Acceptance. Unconditional love. Hope. Respect. Compassion.
Diseases need to be cured. Autism needs to be understood and accepted.
We need to understand that life doesn’t always run on an exact timeline. Not every achievement or milestone needs to happen for every person at the same time. We need to accept autistics for all that they can do, rather than for what they can’t. We need to understand that different is not always a bad thing. Different doesn’t need to be feared or cured. And different should never be laughed at.
Norrin is my only child, I do not know what it’s like to have a child without autism. I love him – just as he is. Autism adds to his personality, it doesn’t diminish it.
Raising a child with autism isn’t easy. As a mom, it’s hard – not always understanding the needs and wants of your own child. There are times when I call his name three, four, five times – asking him to look at me. When he’s running around, back and forth, flapping his hands and I can’t get him to calm down or focus. When he’s not using his words but mumbling, scripting to himself and I’m not sure why. When it’s late at night and I’m up thinking about his goals and IEP. I still don’t want to cure Norrin of anything. All I want to do is work harder to help him and to understand him.