Tuesday, 12 June 2012

A Cure for Autism

 I don't like it when people refer to autistics being not disordered, but 'differently ordered'. If I smash up a vase and glue it back together again, it's still in an ordered state, true, just one that doesn't work whatsoever. Now autism isn't quite so dramatic a change as that, but it has the potential to be devastating to any who have it. Pretending it isn't a brain disorder is only going to lead to more suffering in the world. Are most people out there who believe a cure should never be made autistic, or their family? Because more and more I'm starting to think that only someone without a debilitating condition that robs you of social interaction would be able to call any form of autism, whether low-functioning or high-functioning, a 'differently ordered' state of mind, or who would not seek a cure for such an ailment. Don't get me wrong I'm not sure a cure will be found for a long time without our knowledge of the brain increasing perhaps a thousandfold, but if it is found, it will probably stop a lot of despair.

It's easy to judge me as an evil person for thinking that autism is something that should always be cured unless the user wishes to keep it (if they can't give meaningful consent, I'd say curing should be the de facto stance), because it's a feel-good theory that there aren't so many people out there suffering because they are in a world that depends upon social interaction wherein they can provide little to none. People like to believe that the suffering in the world isn't really there, which is why Bryan Caplan, the Smartest Man Who Ever Lived, who Always Thinks Things Through Rationally, and who is A True Bayesian, thinks that living in poverty is a-okay because poor people have some happy times*.

In any case the prose upgrade has been downgraded for now. Sorry about that, but it's rambling short posts for now! I'd write more, but the Inspiration Fairy has gone to someone else I think.

*He seems to think that everyone adapts to things to become happy in them. Wonder why so many poor people are depressed or angry then? Are gangmembers happy when they kill others? Do you think if they had a million dollars (etc.) they'd still be in a gang?


  1. Very similar to the issue of "fixing" deaf kids with implants and stuff. It amounts to choosing the community they'll be able to interact with. The fact that we're (properly) squeamish about this decision demonstrates how much MORE squeamish we should be about creating the child in the first place!

    I was JUST reading about this horrible quack autism therapy where they feed autistic kids industrial-strength bleach and even give them enemas with it (google "MMS autism" if you want to vomit).

  2. I'm not in the mood for vomitting (just so happens); but doesn't the intake of bleach kill those kids?


    should I be 'debilitated' for not wanting the "cure" for myself? Now, I wouldn't wish autism on anyone or for myself, but ... I don't think I want to become 'normal' either ... even though I would be happier that way: it's still a whole other cesspool of conditions over there.
    And among reasons we fail at social interaction, is that, beyound disturbingly nonsensical, informal 'normal' behavior is also rather 'icky'. Think of it like ...

    ... spider sex.*
    Would you be eager for a solution that would transform you, so that you would worry about little else and could succesfully derive a greater deal of satisfaction, just from arachnid copulation?
    Your altered existence would then be comparably more rewarding, would it not?

    * Thanks, Shadow.

  3. The problem with having a disorder on the autism spectrum, even if you are higher functioning, is it makes both work and school much more difficult, because it leads to so much emotional pain, and lack of understanding what is going on socially. There is an entire social layer of things happening that is difficult to understand, and when something bad happens it hurts so much and sometimes something bothering you just keeps on going over and over again in your head. I think it is hard for someone who does not have an autism spectrum disorder to understand the amount of emotional pain involved on a regular basis, even when doing a job that you like.

    It is challenging to even get through a job interview successfully with an autism spectrum disorder, since first impressions are so important. It puts even very skilled people who have an autism spectrum disorder at a big disadvantage.

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  5. I'm in my late 20s and have known I'm autistic for almost half my life now. It's my personal experience and something I've noticed in some others that with some disabilities but autism in particular whether you're considered disabled or how disabled you are seen is relative to the expectations and tolerance of the culture you live in. That's one reason I understand why some are turned off to the idea of a cure.

    I'm not comfortable though when I see some on the spectrum trying to impose the idea that nobody should want a cure. I think the real issue though is that autism research is still in its infancy and is still unreliably defined (based on behavior, not yet on neuroscience) and diagnosed. So do people know what they're even arguing about?

    I'm an example of a person who would certainly like to know more if there is a legitimate "cure" because being disabled it's hard to depend on others not to mistreat/abuse you and help meet your needs (why I particularly don't endorse creating new life that will likely have special needs). Admittedly it's hard to imagine a cure all for myself because of the multifaceted nature of problems that come with autism, I have to suppose it's not just one region of the brain where things are awry.

  6. In the end, I'm compelled to fully support research for a cure for autism - mainly because it allows greater freedom of individual choice (the lack of which causes much suffering).

    Yet, I'm against forcing people into a cure, for the same reason I'm against forcing hearing-impaired individuals to get their deafness cured - it eliminates freedom of choice. These aren't psychopaths, narcissists, or anti-social personality disorder "sufferers"* we're talking about.

    The latter set of disorders have traits that by their very nature are menacing to the well-being of others (physically, psychologically, or regarding fundamental human rights). Autism, deafness, etc. do not by their nature threaten a person's life, health, peace of mind, human rights, human dignity, property, money, etc.

    All this proves to me is that autistics shouldn't be real estate agents, sales reps, or other occupations that necessitate strong social skills. It says nothing about whether they must be "cured".

    Still, as I said, I support research on the basis that some people will want to be "cured" or otherwise made "normal".