Coldplay: “I never meant to cause you trouble / and I never meant to do you wrong / and I, well if I ever caused you trouble / O no, I never meant to do you harm.”
Taylor Swift: “I knew you were trouble when you walked in / so shame on me now.”
P!nk: “I'm trouble / Yeah trouble now / I'm trouble ya'll / I disturb my own town / I'm trouble / Yeah trouble now / I'm trouble ya'll / I got trouble in my town.”
Ray LaMontagne: “Trouble been doggin' my soul since the day I was born.”
Leona Lewis: “I'm a whole lot of trouble / We're in a whole lot of trouble / I told you you should never follow me / But here we are, and you're in too deep / I'm a whole lot of trouble / We're in a whole lot of trouble.”
Elvis Presley: “If you're looking for trouble / You came to the right place / If you're looking for trouble / Just look right in my face / I was born standing up / And talking back... ”
What is it about trouble that has enduring appeal? Simple. Much like the retort George Leigh Herbert Mallory gave about why he wanted to climb Mount Everest: “Because it's there.“ For many families, autism is our Mount Everest, and we represent Greek mythology’s Sisyphus. Because our children have been classified with “classic” autism, we must roll that immense boulder (autism) up the mountain (therapies, medicines, insurance, social skills, etc.) every single day, only to watch the boulder roll back down and begin anew the next day. We are the families who want answers. We are the families who want viable treatments. We are the families that want cures. And that’s asking for trouble from many in the Asperger's and High Functioning Autism (HFA) community.
Those in the Asperger's and High Functioning Autism (HFA) community find the idea of treatments and cures reprehensible. They claim a cure is akin to eugenics. They picket and blog about their hatred of Autism Speaks, an organization dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism. “You should love your children the way they are” some say… “People with autism aren’t broken and don’t need to be fixed,” is a common refrain… “We are not defective and can speak for ourselves… ” say those with Asperger's and HFA. And there is my point. Those with Asperger's and HFA can speak for themselves. Not all children with autism have Asperger's and HFA.
Many with autism can’t speak, and never will. They will never work in Silicon Valley, because they can’t even dress themselves. They will never take notes at MIT or Harvard or in any college lecture, because they are too impaired to understand basic language. It is for those with “classic autism” that parents hope.
Parents pray. Prayers search for viable treatments and cures. You say we don’t love our children as they are? On the contrary, we are filled with so much unconditional love for our children that we want them to have the best possible lives that they can.
Ask a parent of a child with classic autism about why they want a cure, and they will reply as these parents replied to me:
For those who want to help find autism treatments and a cure, please consider a tax-deductible donation to my family’s Autism Speaks “E-TEAM,” in honor of my son Ethan, or in honor of any child.
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