This could be a potentially divisive post so I just want to start off by emphasising this is my personal opinion. I am by no means seeking to detract from anyone who may be seeking an autism cause or cure. These are purely my own musings on this topic after many years of special needs parenting.
In the various online forums I frequent, there are often repeated discussions around the possible causes for autism. Over the years, like many of you, I’ve read various articles listing all the potential causes of autism from birth trauma, gut issues, medication and depression right through to vaccinations, genetics and the impact of various environmental factors.
Occasionally there are conversations too around the latest claims of an autism cure. Again, over the years many claims have been made citing certain diets, therapies and medications as the elusive “cure.” And, each time, the claim is debunked or replaced by a new theory. To be honest I don’t pay much attention to these claims anymore – they never amount to much anyway.
So when these discussions come up, as they periodically do, I usually don’t participate or actively engage as I’m personally not interested in either an autism cause or cure.
Why? After many years of this special needs parenting gig, I recognise that my limited energy and efforts are best utilised looking for ways to help my kids in the here and now.
My two spectrum kids – Gilbert & Matilda
I’m much better placed to proactively help my kids navigate the world around them rather than spend my time searching for, dwelling on or wishing for an ever elusive autism cause or cure.
It’s easy to get caught up in these discussions, especially if you are new to the autism parenting world and desperate to find out all you can. You want to know everything about the condition, how to best connect with your child and, ultimately, how you can make your child’s life happier and healthier.
I know. I’ve been there. More than once, with dual autism and albinism diagnoses for my son together with an aspergers diagnosis for my daughter.
Initially, like most parents following a diagnosis, I read all I could on autism and the ways I could help my kids. I read all the articles listing all the possible causes of autism. I was obsessed with finding out all I could and identifying the right therapies and strategies to help both of them.
Except, I spent more time researching all this stuff than actually following through and helping my children.
In the end I had to pull myself up and recognise that MY need to know the “why” wasn’t helping THEIR needs at all. They need me to help them navigate the world around them. They need me to be their advocate. They need me to love and protect and understand them – unreservedly and unconditionally.
My kids don’t need me getting caught up in the why or the how of autism – they just need me to accept them as they are.
And I do.
I suspect there will never be a single autism cause or cure identified. Just as there is no one presentation of autism. Or one therapy system that works for everyone.
And I’m okay with that. Because I’m not looking for an autism cause or cure.
I’m just looking for the best way to help my kids x