Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Cure

This afternoon McKenna and I dropped by Barnes and Noble as a treat for her recent accomplishments in swim. While I waited for her to make her selection, I browsed titles in fiction and non-fiction. One of the face-outs on the aisle featured Jenny McCarthy's book about her son, Evan, who has autism.

Jenny is an advocate and has formed a advocacy group aimed at curing or healing kids from autism. Much has been written about the effects of dietary cleansing and detoxing with success in many cases. From my casual glimpses it looks like this book is really about the pursuit of a universal cure for autism.

It may seem strange, but as the parent of an Asperger child--admittedly not a fully autistic one--I have never considered "curing" Wylie of his condition. Since he is a twin and Campbell is "normal", I've never considered that exposure from immunizations or other toxins contributed to Wylie's situation. Therefore, I've never pursued remedies for this. I've been aware of other families and their tireless pursuit of doctors and programs seeking to treat or prescribe or medicate to improve the quality of life of their children. All of this is rational behavior and worthwhile. We've just never taken that step.

I think it's because Wylie has been learning all along to cope with his issues and he has made progress in every area he struggles. Since he learns, and progresses, and grows and responds it just seems natural to allow him to continue doing all that he does with his teacher, his RSP teacher, his speech pathologist, his Occupational Therapists, etc.

So, reading Jenny's book today it made me wonder: what if there was a "cure"? Would I want Wylie to be cured?

It seems the answer should be automatic.

But, it's not for me.

I cannot imagine Wylie any other way than how he is. He is incredibly insightful, deep-thinking, funny, charming, good-natured, honest, kind, different, and engaging. Do his differences cause him suffering that could be avoided if he was cured? Probably. So, I guess if I was ultimately concerned with minimizing his suffering, I would opt to cure him. But, if the absence of suffering meant the absence of some of Wylie's most unique and special qualities, the cure might be more harmful than the disease.

1 comment:

steve and kindra said...

I couldn't agree with you more. Wiley is who he is because of his "quirks", but also (I have read a lot about Jenny and her son) if I had a child as severe as Jenny's son, I might want to help make life more copable for them. Make sense? But I love your post and thank you for sharing.