If something can be cured then it implies that it's a disease. Autism is not a disease. Everyone is different. Some of our children with autism have differences that are uncommon in the population. These are called strengths. We need to encourage these strengths rather than putting them in a box labelling them. Our children with autism have different strengths and weaknesses, just like everyone else. Their strengths tend to be rare ones. They're strengths that the rest of the world needs.
The term “cured” is often used when people talk about individuals with autism. They are referring to the fact that the individual has managed to overcome the challenges that come with this diagnosis and make progress in their lives. In this sense, they are not cured, just of some of the symptoms that come with it. For example, an individual may be able to attend a mainstream school without any issues as a result of intensive therapy.
I don't particularly like the term cure. Even for diseases such as cancer, cure can be misleading. For example, a person may have had treatment for cancer, then have confirmation scans to show that the cancer mass is no longer there, just to have the cancer come back six years later somewhere else. Does this mean the cancer was cured, or just the most obvious symptom disappeared for a time?
Another reason I don't like using the word cure is that it's not allowed to be used to describe a medical condition going away, unless government approved treatments were used. Our medical industry has too much control on what choices we can make for our own bodies, as well as control over what we are allowed to say regarding health. This control has extended to autism, such that it's defined as incurable. There isn't a medicine that's approved and shown to cure autism, therefore it can't be cured.
Even if it could be cured by addressing the root cause, there would be remaining symptoms of autism that need support. For example, let's say Jared is a child with an autism diagnosis. When Jared was 10 years old, he took part in a treatment protocol based on research to verify if it could cure his autism. The treatment cured the root cause, however he missed developmental milestones earlier in his life. He hasn't developed social skills, hasn't developed skills in expressing empathy and never really learned English skills. He still ticks some boxes that meet the criteria for autism. This means that he still has ASD, even though the treatment worked. He will still need help to develop any skills that have been delayed, and he would like to improve on.
Autism isn't really a disease anyway (at least in most cases). Many people with an autism diagnosis don't really need anything fixed. They have differences that the majority of people, and may have challenges that mean it's hard for them to seem what we have defined as normal. Normal does not mean right or perfect. Normal just means you have learned how to be similar to others. An autistic child may have skills that he and his parents would like to work on, but so do us all. He may even have some brain fog and need support to improve health, as is the case with many adults. It's just that the brain fog and symptoms of poor health may have appeared earlier.
The aim should not be to cure autism, but rather improve the quality of life of the person.
I believe that if there are early signs of autism, support should start as soon as possible. The support should include a wider range of strategies than the current standard approach. It is important for parents or carers to recognise early signs of ASD in order to provide support before the condition becomes more challenging. Parents should remember that behaviours aren't the result of a the child just being a naughty kid. Children don't want to be naughty. There is always a reason for a behaviour, even if it's being judged as bad. It's up to us to find the reason.