Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Disability vs. Disease

There is a lot of discussion out in the blogisphere about Autism. Is it a disability or a disease? Is there a cure? Should we be looking for a cure for all disabilities, or celebrating our differences and learning to live with our disabilities? I think the obvious answer is that we do a combination of both. We do what we can to prevent and cure—be it diabetes, cancer, flu, mental illness, autism, or what ever. But we accept and deal with what we can’t cure or change… I think this is in part the difference between having a five-year-old diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder and having an eleven-year-old with the same. Somewhere along the way you learn that the only hope isn’t a cure. There is great hope for a good life, or at least great hope for many, many good moments in life with autism. As the caregiver, the sibling, the parent, the teacher, or the relative of the autistic person, and as the autistic person… or the person with autism… however you want to say it.

The paragraph above is my reaction to the following:

This is a rush transcript from (Greta Van Susteren’s Fox News show) "On the Record," October 20, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

  • VAN SUSTEREN: We had a rather sobering experience inside the children's hospital.
  • MCCAIN: We visited one of two pieces of equipment that can help diagnose autism at its early stages. And it is sobering. It's a very sobering experience because autism is a disease that is more and more prevalent each day in the United States, and there's no cure yet. We don't know what's causing it and what it is, and families are afflicted every day with it.
  • VAN SUSTEREN: And I suppose Governor Palin certainly said at the Republican national convention that, you know, special needs children is...
  • MCCAIN: Yes.
  • VAN SUSTEREN: ... is something that, you know, is one of her passions.
  • MCCAIN: Yes. She's -- as you know, they are parents of a special needs child. And we're so proud of them because their family is just such a lovely family anyway, but this special needs child has brought so much to them also.

There is a well-meaning sentiment here, and I want to relate to Cindy McCain because she is an adoptive mom, but I don't relate to her. Her words sound like sympathy, almost pity.   I've been thinking about this because of recent post and discussion on Autism Vox...  Some of the discussion is so tiresome I'm not even going to link to it.  You can find it by going to the blog on my blog roll.

Oh, and where have I been???   A piece of EQUIPMENT that can diagnose autism???? 
Is this a brain scan that finds markers?   Why do I think this is a very narrow part of the picture.

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