||[Jul. 31st, 2007|05:12 pm]
There is a debate going on, it seems, between people who want to "cure" autism and people who want it accepted as just a different way of being. Oddly enough the pro-cure people are mostly parents of severely, low functioning, autistic children and the other side of the debate are people with mild, high functioning, autism like AS. To me it seems a very black and white way of looking at it. I mean there are lots of things about autism that suck no matter how functional you are and then there are bits that are nice too. I think there needs to be more research and it does need to be better understood and that anything that can increase the quality of life for low (and high) functioning autistics should be looked in to. Just because you find a diet that helps alleviate some symptoms doesn't make the person any less themselves for example. Lobotomizing people and sedating them is obviously, I hope, not really under the "quality" of life banner.
Anyway while I think the argument and the creation of "sides" is silly I do agree with the "acceptance" crowd in that I think we need to encourage and celebrate the good things about autistic people - particularly those in our lives. Also it has come up several times of late. So I thought I would talk about my dad, who is autistic.
My dad is one of the kindest and most gentle people I have ever met. He is also the most intelligent - like really really intelligent. He is in the top division of the top one percentile for IQ with a score of 179 on one test (European Standardized I think). He sings, hums and "beeps" (something which is called 'stimming' some people rock, cross and uncross their fingers or any number of other distracting behaviors to calm themselves) all day. He has trouble saying goodbye and no and generally doesn't deal with closure well. He has trouble reading facial expressions and know what to say and when. He is careful in the extreme. He always takes his time so when he finally does something you know it will be done right. He has a weird sense of humor. He does a fantastic dalek impression. When I was little he always, always answered when I asked "whhhy?" and usually in great detail too. He spent a whole summer making plasma generators to amuse me. He used to read to me in Latin and Ancient Greek when I was small. He would rock me for hours and count every rock out loud. He is trusting - maybe too trusting. He has saved literally dozens of lives because he is calm and careful (being a genius may or may not be a factor). He will sit for hours and untangle a knot in my hair without hurting me. He will nurse a sick hedgehog back to health for months if necessary. He loves cats. He has a deep calm voice. He gets bothered when sci-fi spaceships don't make sense. He collects broken tvs and printers and can't throw anything away. He fixes them and gives them away to the solo-mums in our area. He can explain the exact chemical reactions going on inside an egg while it boils yet he can't actually boil one. He was my primary caregiver and homeschooled me while mum worked, I studied: maths, physics, chemistry and electronics from age 8, and then I went to a tutor for English/Dyslexia. We built gigantic lego forts and aircraft carriers and made amazingly realistic dalek costumes out of boxes. He always has time for people and cats and hedgehogs. Yet he is never on time for anything. From age 4 he knew every part of a car motor and how it worked. He was 34 before he learned to drive one. He is good with computer hardware but software is too "user friendly" for him and confuses him when it doesn't behave in the "obvious" and "logical" fashion. Yes sometimes he reminds me of Spock. He has friends who are physicists, chess grandmasters, doctors and mongrel mob members. He never judges people based on looks or anything else really. He really likes microwaves because they are so "efficient". People who are scared of the word 'radiation' confuse him. I love my dad for lots and lots of reasons, of which the above are just a few, but most of all I love him because he is my dad.