There is no question whatsoever that autism does not need to be cured and there is no cure and there never will be a cure. This is absolutely due to autism not being a deficit, a disease, a disorder, an illness or indeed anything wrong. All scientific approaches that are dedicated to finding a cure for autism are fruitless and destined to failure. This in my mind is an absolute given.
What is in need of rigorous scientific approach is co-occurring conditions with autism, often referred to as comorbids. Just as a neurotypical person can have comorbid conditions alongside their neurotype so too can autistic and other neurodivergent people.
In fact, many autistic people have comorbid conditions, to fail to rigorously investigate and treat with the most relevant interventions would be a failure in duty of care to the autistic person. It would be akin to coming to the conclusion of oh well they’re disabled they can just sit in front of the television and exist in their own world because they are never going to amount to or achieve anything in life.
An often stated comorbid condition for autistic people is ADHD. This is always an interesting issue to consider, as ADHD is a neurodivergence in its own right. I would describe it more of a multiple neurodivergence rather than a comorbid condition. However, there are many comorbid conditions that are not other forms of neurodivergence and genuine comorbids that can and should be approached with a rigorous scientific approach.
One example is epilepsy and seizures. To fail to approach this from a rigorous scientific approach would be to condemn the person to unneeded suffering, likely physical damage to their brains and possible death as a result of seizures.
Anxiety and depression are common cormorbids and of course we treat them with appropriate interventions. There are language and learning issues, mobility issues and a host of comorbids that definitely impact the quality of life or autistic people and should be mitigated with best practice treatments that aim to enhance the life of the autistic person concerned.
Autistic Advocacy and Activism is not pretending things aren’t real.
I have come across attitudes in my travels where I am prejudged as not being concerned about comorbid conditions because I proclaim autistic pride, autistic advocacy and activism, and because I refuse to declare autism as a disease, disorder or state of lessness.
This is simply not true. I and I am fairly certain other proud autistic people are at one with me on this. That comorbid conditions are not autism, not part of autism, are life detracting and at times dangerous and should be treated.
From my own personal perspective, depression and anxiety are ever present comorbid issues for myself. I actively treat those with appropriate medications. I have done so for 20 years so far and will continue to do so for as long as it is needed.
My child who has a seizure disorder comorbid with being autistic maintains a rigorous regime of medication and ongoing relationship with a specialist neurologist. It goes without saying that that treatment is important and imperative to her quality of life. For her or her parent were to fail in this would be a failure of parental duty and could rightly be described as abuse.
I am a proud autistic person. Being autistic means I am different not less, I have a different neurology. I do not need intervention or treatment because I am autistic. I need treatment and intervention for comorbid conditions.
I thoroughly embrace rigorous scientific research into comorbids now and in the future.
Living as an autistic can be difficult at times, there is no question that autistic people face discrimination, stereotypes, myths and failures to be accommodated in many aspects of their lives. Often this is due to equating autism with a deficit. This is simply not true. However, what is true is that the comorbids many of us live with do make life difficult for us, especially if we do not access the best treatments for them.
I embrace rigorous scientific approaches to co-occurring conditions!