I recently read this statement from Ari Ne'eman, the President of The Autistic Self Advocacy Network. I thought it was a great explanation of how we should respect the individuality of autistic people, and still teach functional skills. This is what our research priorities should be; stop wasting money on a "cure!"
"I consider it a grave human rights concern that many autistic individuals continue to be unable to communicate because the assistive communication technology and educational methodology research that could help many more adults and children convey their needs is being ignored in favor of eugenically oriented genetic research aimed at finding a 'cure' for a natural and legitimate part of human genetic diversity. The autism spectrum is not a recent epidemic but a neurological condition that has always existed, but is only now being diagnosed at incidence rates that approach accuracy.
The autism spectrum often comes with significant disabilities that require substantial support. However, rather than trying to eliminate us, we can and should be taking steps to mitigate those disabilities while empowering the strengths that we possess and respecting our legitimate place in the spectrum of human diversity. We encourage this Committee to take the first steps towards shifting the main buzzword about autism from 'cure' to 'communication' and ultimately, to moving the dialogue about the autism spectrum to one of acceptance, inclusion and, above all, respect."
- Ari Ne'eman, President of The Autistic Self Advocacy Network, http://www.autisticadvocacy.org/