May 25, 2010

For the record...

I'm learning that there seem to be a couple of different "camps" for thinking about Autism in our society. Not surprisingly, if you google "Autism," you'll come up with thousands upon thousands of research articles, blogs, and sales sites with the latest products that you must have if your life has been touched by Autism. (And I'm happily eating up some of it, clearly.)

So many of these sites seem to come from the angle of curing Autism or viewing it as an undeserved burden that is plaguing children today. And while I want to state clearly that I agree that it is a burden on families and children to readjust to life with Autism in the family, I do not view it as a disease that must be cured.

My son has Asperger's. I do not believe that he "got it" from any of his vaccines, I do not believe he "got it" from any environmental factors and I do believe that his brain is simply wired a little differently than his father's and mine and that his unique traits do come from his family members, straight out of the gene pool into which each of us threw our genetic codes.

To view Jackson's condition as a disease would be a disservice to him and to the community of people who already know and love him so well and to which he has already contributed.

So what if I have to teach him a certain social skill five hundred times in a row over years and years that other kids his age are learning by osmosis? So what if he is sensitive in certain situations, limiting his or his family's participation? So what if he really, really, really likes trains and bridges and wants to play with them, study them and talk about them all the time?

He also notices the moon in the middle of the day almost every single day, remembers more from his early years than even I do and can tell you exactly how many light bulbs are out in every store or restaurant within just a couple of minutes of arriving.

I don't call that a disease. I don't know exactly what he's going to do with this level of insight into the world, but it takes all kinds of minds and I'm excited to walk the path with him to help him find out.

I don't want to cure my son of Asperger's, I want to embrace him with his Asperger's blanket wrapped tightly around him--as a buffer between our two worlds--as I strive to help him learn more about ours and absorb all that he'll let me about his.

I think that maybe the parents/organizations who are trying to cure kids of Autism might be missing a very important piece of the puzzle...


  1. Kate I could not agree with you more!!

  2. I love this post, and I agree....except...

    My 5 year old was diagnosed at 3 1/2, although I suspected it very early on. We have ridden the wave, and obviously love him unconditionally.

    I don't believe my son got Asperger's from shots either, I believe he was born with it.

    But please don't think that the parents who try everything to bring their child out of the fog (which many parents describe) are missing a very important piece of the puzzle. I'm just trying to help the pieces fit better.

    My son could not speak more than 5 words, make eye contact, or hug or show any form of affection, he was not even close to toileting, and would scream blue bloody murder in any situation that was not routine. 3 days off of diary products, and he was completly potty trained, kissed me for the first time, and now talks everyone's ear off.

    I love my son no matter who or what or how he is, but if I can make his life better by trying unconventional things (that may or may NOT work), then I am all for that. I want to ease his life, not "cure" him.

    Alright, I just had to get that off my chest. Some wacko off the wall things actually DO help, and when I saw my son blossom, and his his eyes light up....the thought of that moments brings tears to my eyes....One of the pizzle pieces connected.

  3. And it also brought tears to his Oma's eyes, me, Clare. Thanks for sharing part of your journey, Catherine and Christy. Christy is my daughter, and my grandson has surely blossomed from the care given to ease his life. Food can cure or food can make you ill. It's up to the parents to see how it plays out in your child's life.