Sunday, June 13, 2010

Life and Autism

After so many stories about autism and genetics in the news media, a parent asked me "that question" yet again: Would I want to be cured? What if my "autistic traits" could have been prevented?

I have answered this multiple times, on this site and elsewhere.

First, my life is better than that of the vast majority of humans currently living or at most points of known history. Plentiful food, good shelter, and a relatively easy existence within the American middle-class. Any complaints are the result of not considering my good fortune to be born at this time, within this culture.

What parents are really asking is if their children are in some way unhappy, displeased, bitter, et cetera, for as a result of existing with autism or any other disability.

I have no idea how someone else feels about being alive. None. People I can't imagine have any problems take their own lives. People I would imagine are miserable keep fighting for each extra day.

Physically, who doesn't have aches and pains? Humans are frail little creatures like most others on this planet. A little virus can destroy us, which is pretty pitiful.

I can generally work around my sensitivities. It's not like I'm going to hang out in a dance club or seek out a wool shirt to wear. You learn your limits and plan around them.

Do I wish I could deal with people better? Yes, but I also don't want to be fake or dishonest. I have a handful of friends, especially my wife, and I'm okay with that.

No two people respond to similar lives in the same way. Some people are naturally more resilient, I suppose. I'm not wildly enthusiastic every day, but I'm content most days. That's pretty good.

Be thankful for life, for each day, and I suppose your children might notice and reflect that philosophy. Complain a lot and wallow in misery about life, using whatever excuse you have to be miserable, and your children will definitely notice.

I have no idea if my life would be "better" or not with a cure / treatment. It wouldn't be my life as I know it, anyway.

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