When we cure autism, we seek to eradicate all traces of autism and convert the autistic to be NeuroTypical. Fixing autism is much less ambitious – the goal is to change the autistic just enough so that they are not a burden to their caretakers.
Fixing autism is the more politically correct cousin of curing autism. While most caregivers and organisations may deny that they wish to fix autism, their actions prove otherwise. Look at the schedule of an autistic under their care, and you will see:
• A strong emphasis on life skills, especially on doing housework.
• Some emphasis on sports, which provides a healthy alternative to addictive computer games
• Little emphasis on developing talents, learning skills that are in high demand, or developing careers
The ideal autistic is a docile, polite, and conscientious domestic helper who will take the initiative to clean up after himself. He will follow simple instructions and be able to do menial jobs (which incidentally pay very little and will become obsolete soon).
This is a good strategy if caregivers just want to cut their losses because they think that any further investment in their child will go to waste. It is a terrible strategy if they seek to develop the full potential of their child and provide him with a sustainable future in an uncertain world of constant change.
The question is less of if the child truly lacks the intellectual ability to develop anything of use, but more of if the caregivers are willing to make their best effort to try.
When the caregivers try to protect the autistic child from stress by not entrusting him with extra challenges, when the teacher keeps insisting on dumbing down the lesson plans to make it super easy to understand, they are slowly erasing the autistic child’s future.
While housework may be essential and unavoidable, being able to earn much money to outsource housework can be a better solution than becoming a competent domestic worker.
Yes, the autistic child may have rigid and inflexible thinking. Even more so for caregivers to set an example of how to be flexible and accommodating to the diverse needs and situation of the child.