The issues of curing autism, and treating comorbids.

People unfamilair with Aspies for Freedom often ask if we are against the treating of comorbids as part of the aims. As far as I personally see it, treating comorbid conditions is relevant to helping individuals, as long as they are not forced that treatment, or the treatment is abusive.

The huge difference between someone choosing to take a medication to help their depression, or having speech therapy to enable them to communicate to the best of their ability, and having an actual cure for autism is that autism is at the core of the person, most often genetically so, and present from birth.

As an analogy, if a woman had polycystic ovary syndrome, she would most likely expect and receive treatment to help her. This wouldn’t change who she was, but would help that condition.
Clearly that although all women have ovaries, treating them for a medical problem does not change who she is, or her femaleness.

In the Victorian era, if a woman appeared to have a mental health condition, it was blamed on her being the ‘weaker sex’. An hysterical woman (the word hysteria coming from the Greek word for womb) could suffer the treatment of having her womb removed, a hysterectomy. It
was thought that her femaleness itself was causing any problem. This is similar to the modern notion that in order to help someone with autism, who may have numerous comorbid conditions, that the autism itself must be removed.

It’s barbarically simple, and as horrifying to many of us, as it would be to have a hysterectomy as a cure for depression.

This is a quote from a webpage about the history of a mental asylumm, and the people forceably detained there –

“Of women locked up at 999 (Asylum) prior to 1900, a quarter were in for “female trouble” — “childbirth, lactation, miscarriage, menstrual disorders, uterine disorders” and other natural conditions seen as “the predisposing cause of insanity.”

The “wandering womb” lived on in medical discourse. Cynthia H, 49 — widowed and childless, admitted to 999 from a sanitorium in 1904 — was “reported to have been restless, terrified of being deserted by everybody,” and “in constant dread” of not being provided with food.
The cure for her “hysteria”? A hysterectomy. It failed to cure. She died five years later, at 999 (Asylum).

Daniel Clark denounced sexual surgery — as an attack on “women’s innate sense of modesty.” But “utero mania,” as he called it, was common: countless women were unsexed “for their own good.” Many more went not under the knife but into the bin — for the good of “the race.”
(ref 1)

It could also be compared to the ageing process, as people reach their seventies and eighties they often require medication, treatments or walking aids. They are the same person inside but the body needs more help. Some groups of people advocate euthanasia for ailing pensioners, instead of the time consuming and costly medical care that they may
need. The additional conditions, or comorbids of old age need help, without altering the person inside.

I hope this makes it clearer to people who are unsure where we stand on conditions comorbid with autism.

References:

1. http://www.rbebout.com/queen/libtrin/2pnotat.htm

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