Is there a cure for autism?
Is there a cure for autism? No. Because it's not something separate from the individual, an appendage or organ we can remove, or a disease we catch.
We are autistic, and as I've written before that's how some 90% of us self-identify. We no more "have autism" than people have blackness, gayness, or transness.
There are various treatments available for many of the associated comorbidities we find come along with autism, such as depression and anxiety, but these are not a cure or treatment for autism per se.
So, all that aside, would it be possible to turn an autistic person into a non-autistic person?
No, not at the level of medical technology we now possess, because it would require rewiring the brain.
Research suggests autistic brains have far more connections than non-autistic ones (which goes some way to explaining the way we tend to think in parallel instead of in series, how we can see the "big picture" in one, fell swoop, and why we tend to be so susceptible to sensory overload).
So to turn an autistic brain into a non-autistic one you'd somehow have to undo or sever those connections, and all without doing and irreparable damage to the rest of it.
Good luck with that.
I'm no neurologist, to be sure, but it seems highly unlikely we're ever going to be able to effect that kind of change.
And even if we could, would it be possible to do it without changing the essential character of the person involved?
Much of my personality is necessarily shaped by the way I perceive the world, and how I perceive the world is unavoidably filtered through my autism.
It simply couldn't be any other way.
Is there a cure for autism? No. But if there was would it be ethical?
This is where it gets messy for some people.
A common opinion is it's somehow "disrespectful" to other autistics to want a cure for yourself or your autistic child.
Bizarre. Once more, perhaps people would be happier minding their own business.
My own view?
It would be up to the individual.
Personally, I like being this way. I wouldn't take a "cure" even if there was one.
Would I have asked to be autistic?
Probably not, not when I was young, because as a kid it was tough.
Hell, yes. I've made the advantages my own and can't miss what I've never had.
Alas, it's not the same for everyone.
I know some autistic people hate being the way they are, and it's not for me or anyone else to tell them they're wrong for feeling that way.
Sure, it's pointless and won't help them in the slightest, and will almost certainly mean they'll live utterly miserable lives, but that's their prerogative.
Moreover, it's easy for others to sit in judgement on parents who have autistic children who are unable to speak or look after themselves and who will never be independent.
Until you've been in their position and had to do what they do, day in, day out, you don't get to have a fucking opinion on it (well, not one anyone with a shred of decency and compassion is going to want to listen to).
For them a cure for autism would make things a hell of a lot easier.
Unfortunately, the stigma and difficulties presented by having an autistic child, especially one with high support-needs, makes it easy for unscrupulous sacs of pus to sell bogus autism cures in the form of anything from bleach enemas to other idiotic "protocols" and "therapies" which serve no other purpose than to disappoint and impoverish parents, and heap abuse and indignity on the children subjected to them.
Ultimately asking wanting a cure for autism is a form of wishful thinking — and misguided wishful thinking, at that.
Because most of the problems we face aren't caused by autism but rather by neurotypicals' response to and ignorance of what it means for us and how we perceive the world.
In other words, better than a "cure" to make us more like you would be education to make you realise we're as human as you are and entitled to the same respect and tolerance.
Jon McCulloch, The Evil Bald Genius
Author, speaker, business owner, and autism advocate