Autism and the related Asperger syndrome are much in the news and on people’s minds lately.
Here I will discuss my thoughts. Disclaimer: I have reason to think that I am personally in the Asperger camp. I have children and step-children who are officially diagnosed as Asperger.
There are two topics I’m going to talk about. One is the anti-vaccine furor. The other is the question of what to do for the people we’ve already got who are on the spectrum.
First, the second topic.
There’s a lot of discussion about a cure or treatment for autism spectrum disorders. That’s a load of bullshit as far as I’m concerned. You can’t fix autism or the less severe forms like Aspergers. It’s a fundamental part of who they are. It’s like saying you’re looking for a cure for green eyes. Germany was looking for similar “cures” for fundamental characteristics in the late 30s and early 40s.
Instead of trying to fix these people, we need to help them cope, and accept who they are.
The second topic also makes me angry. Even if there were some validity to the claim that vaccines cause autism, do they truly believe that a small number of profoundly autistic children is really a worse situation than the deaths of thousands of children from preventable diseases?
What I hear when an anti-vaxxer starts speaking is “I would rather have kids die from a horrible disease than deal with an autistic spectrum disorder in my own child. Death is preferable to autism, for your child or mine.”
Everything that I understand about the situation says that a child is going to have (or not have) an autistic spectrum disorder whether they are vaccinated or not.