That, ladies and gentlemen, is the question. Ok, maybe not really, but this does bring up a rant for today.
I saw a picture earlier today that made me feel a little angry. Well strike that, more like a lot angry. I won’t show it here because just thinking about it makes me seethe in rage, but it said something to the effect of “We are autistic, but we don’t want to be cured because we are not sick.”
Now, that statement seems harmless enough but what enrages me is the fact that it’s speaking in the plural, as though it were speaking for all of us on the autism spectrum. Quite frankly the statement does not speak for me in the slightest. I, for one, long for a cure and if a cure were to come along in my lifetime I would accept it.
The reason for this is simple: autism is a disqualifying medical condition (it might not be a sickness in and of itself but it is a medical condition) for my dream job. The FAA has outright stated that those on the autism spectrum are not eligible for medical clearance to fly, be it general or special issuance. Given as such, barring a dramatic reversal in policy by the powers that be, the only way I can live my dream would be if I were to be cured, thus I would choose to be cured if in fact a cure were to become available.
I will say, however, that I am sensitive to those who say otherwise and think their autism (or, quite frankly, any other mental or physical medical condition) are part of who they are and they wouldn’t be themselves if they were cured. As a staunch libertarian I will defend your right to accept or reject any treatment or cure you do not wish to receive. I don’t really give a fuck what you do with your life. It affects me not. You can rest assured that if the government tried to hold you down and force a treatment/cure down your throat and against your will I would be right there fighting for your rights. All I ask in return is that you not criticize me and those who feel the way I do.
The point being here is don’t act like you speak for all of us. Either choice would be valid and should be made in context of a person’s personal and professional goals. For some of us, autism is a hindrance or an automatic bar to that. Some of might also not like the other bullshit that comes with being on the spectrum (also read: any other mental or physical handicap). You might not want to be cured, but I long for a cure and I should not be viewed negatively for such.