About a month ago, as like many other days, an article was shared to me that essentially looked at yet another cause of autism (this one focused on gut issues and autistics).
Parents and medical professionals (and researchers) often devote hours to and with a cause mentality. The issue I have with that is that
1. It diverts funds away from actually helping autistics, especially adults.
2. Often the ’cause’ turns out to be a false alarm, or a red herring, or applies to mice but not necessarily autistic humans.
3. The list grows ever longer.
4. What is the true purpose of finding the cause?
I would love to think that all the talk of causes would lead to real help for autistics in their daily lives. Don’t get me wrong I am sure special diets and probiotics and eliminating gluten will help some autistics, just as they would also help some non-autistics.
But by far and away the biggest purpose to find the cause is so as to eliminate or mitigate autism occurring. One only has to examine the history of Down Syndrome to see that this argument is true.
And I wonder why people are so against the very idea that autistic parents could be a factor (passing on their autistic genes) or even genetics without a family history being involved.
I would like to think we are past the days of refrigerator mothers, older mothers, older fathers, younger mothers, younger fathers, corn syrup, Monsanto, mother’s fevers (well that’s one is still going), gut issues, vaccinations, etc. in our search for the elusive ’cause’ – the list is long and varied.
We need to get past the whole cause mentality, and instead look to acceptance – accepting the broad diversity of humanity and learn to accept and affirm differences.
Which brings me back to inclusion. Because sometimes it seems to me the cause mentality is an excuse not to accept difference, to not include those who are different. And that means you are seeking to not include me, or my autistic offspring.
And I take that personally, how could I not?
You might say “but we don’t want to get rid of people like you!” Just who are people like me? You mean ‘high functioning’ autistics? Because how will you tell? And who is to tell who is actually high functioning? Are we going to talk degrees of functionality? Or those without comorbidities? I count all autistics as being just like me.
I’d rather we spent our time, efforts, and money, in helping autistics to survive: with housing, with employment (if they are able), with the basics in life.