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    I was discussing this article with a friend today. It would be wonderful if they succeeded in developing an effective cure for autism, however there are other issues to consider. I began to wonder if I would actually want to be treated for it. Sure.. its hard to live with, but at the same time I feel it is part of my personality; who I am. Would I be a completely different person if I was 'cured'? :afraid: Also.. what would the full impact be of 'curing' an adult or teenager? Would the shock of such an enormous transformation of thought processes, response and perspective create significant psychological damage to the individual? If so, how severe must their condition be for this damage to be the better end result of the two options?

    Personally I think curing people from infancy would be fantastic, but imposing cure at a later stage is not a straightforward matter.

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    (Original post by Craghyrax)
    I was discussing this article with a friend today. It would be wonderful if they succeeded in developing an effective cure for autism, however there are other issues to consider. I began to wonder if I would actually want to be treated for it. Sure.. its hard to live with, but at the same time I feel it is part of my personality; who I am. Would I be a completely different person if I was 'cured'? :afraid: Also.. what would the full impact be of 'curing' an adult or teenager? Would the shock of such an enormous transformation of thought processes, response and perspective create significant psychological damage to the individual? If so, how severe must their condition be for this damage to be the better end result of the two options?

    Personally I think curing people from infancy would be fantastic, but imposing cure at a later stage is not a straightforward matter.

    Discuss:
    Hmm, may I join even though I'm not directly affected by autism? [I've got some sort of auto-immune thing, though, so I suppose I've got a limited right to post in this forum].:p:

    For what it's worth, I think it's highly arrogant to treat autism as something abnormal that needs to be 'cured' at all costs, because it implies you regard the people affected by it as somehow defective, which, judging by my limited knowledge on autism,* is just complete nonsense. After all, it's not exactly a crippling, fatal disease mankind needs to be protected from, is it? I can imagine it's something that does affect you on a daily basis, but whether you regard people as hampered by it is probably a matter of perspective. Even if one does choose to use terms like the ones used in the BBC article, such as 'structural abnormalities' (which in themselves sounds rather biased towards 'normality', whatever that is), it doesn't automatically follow that 'abnormal' always has to mean 'deficient and in need of correction'.

    Actually this reminds me a bit of a very interesting film I saw a few years ago. It was a film about how organisations of deaf people were increasingly trying to fight certain methods of teaching (like teaching them to speak or sing) and surgery (like putting some sort of implant in their ears to make them 'hear' a bit). They were arguing that those things weren't really done for the benefit of the deaf people but for the benefit of the non-deaf, who had a problem with other people's deafness, because they couldn't imagine that it was quite possible to be deaf and not regard oneself as deficient and wish to be made as 'normal' as possible. The views presented by various deaf rights activists in that film were quite radical, obviously, because the film had clearly been made to propagate their agenda, but I thought it did raise valid points. As for example that the public perception of deafness as a disability and primarily a lack of something is mainly shaped by the outside view that hardly takes into account that for a significant number of people, their deafness forms part of their identity.

    Hmm, sorry about the length of this post. I seem to feel more strongly about this than I thought. Ahem. Could have something to do with my aforementioned auto-immune thing, though. It's also a 'disability' by definition, it affects me on a near-daily basis (though in different ways than autism would, I suppose) and it can occasionally be a bit of a nuisance, but that still doesn't mean I spend every spare moment crying my eyes out over not being 'normal'.:rolleyes:
    [/rant]



    *Purely based on having read around a bit because I was interested, so don't be too harsh if I'm drawing wrong conclusions here.
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    (Original post by hobnob)
    Hmm, may I join even though I'm not directly affected by autism? [I've got some sort of auto-immune thing, though, so I suppose I've got a limited right to post in this forum].:p:
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    Yes of course. Its useful for people without disabilities to join in just so that the wider world becomes a bit more aware and educated about these issues, and also contributions are often helpful for everybody whoever they come from, either directly or indirectly. That aside, you have a disability of sorts :p:
    You can join the Disabled Student soc if you like :p: Join link is on the main Socs page
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    (Original post by hobnob)
    For what it's worth, I think it's highly arrogant to treat autism as something abnormal that needs to be 'cured' at all costs, because it implies you regard the people affected by it as somehow defective, which, judging by my limited knowledge on autism, is just complete nonsense. After all, it's not exactly a crippling, fatal disease mankind needs to be protected from, is it? I can imagine it's something that does affect you on a daily basis, but whether you regard people as hampered by it is probably a matter of perspective. Even if one does choose to use terms like the ones used in the BBC article, such as 'structural abnormalities' (which in themselves sounds rather biased towards 'normality', whatever that is), it doesn't automatically follow that 'abnormal' always has to mean 'deficient and in need of correction'.
    Its remarkeably refreshing to hear this coming from someone else, I assure you
    Just to counterbalance it, however.. you have to take the whole perspective into consideration. Some people are sufficiently handicapped by autism for a cure to be worth paying some careful consideration towards. However, for alot of us; the points you mentioned above are extremely pertinent.
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    'Autism' being short-hand for 'autistic spectrum disorder', which encompasses Asperger's Syndrome: would you 'cure' him?
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    Exactly :rolleyes:
    If you 'cure' someone, what's left at the end? :hmmmm: Which bits go, which bits stay?
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    (Original post by Craghyrax)
    Just to counterbalance it, however.. you have to take the whole perspective into consideration. Some people are sufficiently handicapped by autism for a cure to be worth paying some careful consideration towards.
    Yes, that's a fair point... but this is true only for a minority of cases, isn't it? (I.e. those who would have been diagnosed as 'autistic' even several decades ago, when definitions of autism were much cruder).
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    (Original post by hobnob)
    Yes, that's a fair point... but this is true only for a minority of cases, isn't it? (I.e. those who would have been diagnosed as 'autistic' even several decades ago, when definitions of autism were much cruder).
    I have absolutely no idea what the statistics are, but I don't think its a minority. I think we see more of the high functioning cases, because they integrate with normal society, and are generally 'around'. I think the more severe cases are people who have to go to special schools, and may live alot of their lives in care or at home

    Having said that.. society still has no right to decide if they should be cured or not. They can't and won't tell us whether they're happy or not. Autistic people are generally content in their own 'world' Who says they don't want to be left there? Its the same as the argument for aborting if you know your child will be disabled in some way. Who's to say that hypothetical child wouldn't have wanted the shot at a life even if it wouldn't have been 'normal' We can't assume what their experience would have been.
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    (Original post by Craghyrax)
    I have absolutely no idea what the statistics are, but I don't think its a minority. I think we see more of the high functioning cases, because they integrate with normal society, and are generally 'around'. I think the more severe cases are people who have to go to special schools, and may live alot of their lives in care or at home
    Hmm, I think I remember reading an article about a year ago that started out by claiming autism was dramatically on the increase. However, the writer then went on to admit that his claim was based on the fact that far more cases were being diagnosed these days - as opposed to, say, twenty years ago, when a lot of the high functioning cases wouldn't have been recognised as forms of autism and excluded from the statistics. To be fair, though, the article didn't mention any actual figures, so maybe I just drew the wrong conclusions from there...:dontknow: But that wouldn't really change anything about the fact that even curing only the most severe cases would still be problematic. Obviously the definition of what constitutes a severe case and the justification for the curing of such a case would again have to be based exclusively on the values of the 'normal' outside world...
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    (Original post by hobnob)
    Hmm, I think I remember reading an article about a year ago that started out by claiming autism was dramatically on the increase. However, the writer then went on to admit that his claim was based on the fact that far more cases were being diagnosed these days - as opposed to, say, twenty years ago, when a lot of the high functioning cases wouldn't have been recognised as forms of autism and excluded from the statistics. To be fair, though, the article didn't mention any actual figures, so maybe I just drew the wrong conclusions from there...:dontknow:
    My guess is that it just looks that way. Low functioning autism is as plain as day, but its only now that they are beginning to recognise the milder cases, which as you say.. gives the appearance of their being more cases. Its a similar issue with the gender weighting. People have alleged that more men are affected than women. However its been noticed that women with mild ASDs are far better at reciprocating societal behaviour and masking the visibility of it, which suggests that there is possibly an equal balance, but a difficulty in identifying it in girls.
    (Original post by hobnob)
    But that wouldn't really change anything about the fact that even curing only the most severe cases would still be problematic. Obviously the definition of what constitutes a severe case and the justification for the curing of such a case would again have to be based exclusively on the values of the 'normal' outside world...
    Exactly
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    I've thought about this. There have been times when I've cried myself to sleep, with the refrain "WHY can't I be NORMAL!?" or when in school when I said something particularly nonsensical to everyone else, or was running away from the bullies again, or whatever.

    But then, Asperger's is part of who I am. It's a label, a definition; to me, it is just a convienient short form to describe several (many?) traits that I have. "He is fat; he has blonde hair; he has AS"

    I can't imagine myself without AS; I wouldn't be me. It's a major part of who I am, and I can't imagine what life would be like without it. I wouldn't be so obsessed with rowing, or with History, and I wouldn't be able, academically, to be where I currently am.

    To me, saying I can be "cured" is like saying to someone "your face is defective; you're going to come into hospital now and have a transplant with someone else". The result would be a person who looked in the mirror and said "this isn't me", and a cure for AS would do the same to me.

    However, that all said, there are a numbre of other points and problems.

    I accept that a "cure" would be unacceptable to those with Asperger's, for example, or High Functioning Autism. But what about those with low-Functioning Autism? I suspect that they are the ones this "cure" is aimed at. If a 20 year old has the mental capacity of a three year old, for example, that is quite obviously not "normal"; in order to contribute towards, and benefit from, "normal" society they could (from one point of view) benefit from a "cure". This all smacks too much of eugenics, though. If a pregnant woman found out that her baby would have low-functioning autism, and would be unable to live "normally", then she would presumably feel under pressure for a "cure" for her child. But does the child HAVE to conform to soceity's "norm"? Part of me says "yes", part "no".

    It's a very thorny issue. But I wouldn't "cure" myself.
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    I remember being at a dinner party when I was about 14 or 15 when the table conversation turned round to discussing the recent speculation as to the possible implications of links that had been made between early vaccinations and autism. People began to discuss whether it was maybe better to avoid innoculating your child in case they might develop autism. And especially..how would things have been different if I and my brother hadn't been innoculated. I remember getting very cross and saying that I thought it was very crass that people could talk so flippantly about it. HFA is part of who I am..and would they have it any other way? Were they suggesting I was the product of a side effect or mistake? Etc.. The table went rather quiet
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    (Original post by Craghyrax)
    I remember being at a dinner party when I was about 14 or 15 when the table conversation turned round to discussing the recent speculation as to the possible implications of links that had been made between early vaccinations and autism. People began to discuss whether it was maybe better to avoid innoculating your child in case they might develop autism. And especially..how would things have been different if I and my brother hadn't been innoculated. I remember getting very cross and saying that I thought it was very crass that people could talk so flippantly about it. HFA is part of who I am..and would they have it any other way? Were they suggesting I was the product of a side effect or mistake? Etc.. The table went rather quiet
    Go you! :five:
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    (Original post by FadeToBlackout)
    Go you! :five:
    :ditto:
    Besides, hasn't that theory turned out to be rather dodgy anyway?
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    (Original post by hobnob)
    :ditto:
    Besides, hasn't that theory turned out to be rather dodgy anyway?
    Yes.. although it was still being seriously considered at the time.
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    there is a growing underground philosophy which argues that autism doesnt exist, wierdly enough, or at least doesnt exist in the ways in which we think it does - its more related to competing discursive practices and the ways in which subjectivity is constructed through intersubjective frameworks. i think the theory appeals to foucauldians out there who critique "madness" in much the same way.

    Craghyrax - good on you!!!! "the product of a side effect or mistake" is a view which often permeates thinking, the person gets lost in a discourse of clinical symptomology, where deficits somehow over-ride notions of personhood. keep speaking up, mate!!!
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    (Original post by The Boosh)
    there is a growing underground philosophy which argues that autism doesnt exist, wierdly enough, or at least doesnt exist in the ways in which we think it does - its more related to competing discursive practices and the ways in which subjectivity is constructed through intersubjective frameworks. i think the theory appeals to foucauldians out there who critique "madness" in much the same way.
    I could wiki 'foucauldians', but if you could explain that would also be nice
    (Original post by The Boosh)
    Craghyrax - good on you!!!! "the product of a side effect or mistake" is a view which often permeates thinking, the person gets lost in a discourse of clinical symptomology, where deficits somehow over-ride notions of personhood. keep speaking up, mate!!!
    Lol thanks. I shall do, don't worry. Its getting me to shutup that's the hard bit...
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    people that ascribe to the views of michel foucault - hes a french philosopher that critiques the way in which our society has been constructed, and looks at the ways in which our society's past has lead to a particular view of the world, particular practices, particular classifications of knowledge, and the unbalanced power sharing. he's written a hell of a lot of powerful stuff (if used in the right way). his work provides a framework for challenging western science which sees the world in a particular way.
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    (Original post by The Boosh)
    people that ascribe to the views of michel foucault - hes a french philosopher that critiques the way in which our society has been constructed, and looks at the ways in which our society's past has lead to a particular view of the world, particular practices, particular classifications of knowledge, and the unbalanced power sharing. he's written a hell of a lot of powerful stuff (if used in the right way). his work provides a framework for challenging western science which sees the world in a particular way.
    It did ring a bell :hmmmm: Well if you hadn't already met Ethereal I would have said you ought to :p:
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    i didn't know ethereal was a man of philosophy or french.

    do you guys ever engage with disability studies? you should....
 
 
 

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