I've been doing a lot of reading of autism blogs and books and articles lately, and I've been struck with the differing ways that parents deal with a child's autism. It seems to me there are four basic ways, and of course, lucky you, I'm going to break down what they are!
Before doing so, I do want to say that I don't think any one way is the right way. I can't stand the polarization in the autism community. Let's face it, autism is tough, and any way you choose to deal with it that doesn't hurt your child is your business. I can't possibly judge others, lest I be judged!
Here's my breakdown....
1. Fixing autism the medical way
This is the group that feels autism is a medical, biological disorder, caused by outside forces, and that is can be treated medically. There are a huge amount of subgroups here, but the common thing is a feeling that the child was not born to be autistic, that something caused the autism. This is the vaccine/mercury/ultrasounds/pollution/diet group. I think this group, overall, tends to be people that have led a fairly smooth life up until autism showed its face. They did not ever expect to have a disabled child, and they are going to do everything in their power to fix the child. In many cases, they have a fairly good income, as many of the treatments cost a huge amount. I would guess there are families that would like to go this route, but know the rest of the family would be left dumpster-diving for food once the bills were paid for the various treatments.
2. Fixing autism the educational way
This group is the big ABA group. They believe strongly in education, and provable progress. They get their children diagnosed early, as they are readers and are alert to the signs of autism, and they get them early into ABA programs, the best autism programs at schools and the most educational out of school programs. They devote unbelievable amounts of times to their children. I think these tend to be the highly educated parents, and ones that would also have devoted themselves wholeheartedly to the education of a non-autistic child. They write the books that end with a epilogue about their child going to a new school, where no-one knows they were diagnosed as autistic, and fitting in like any other child, except probably smarter.
3. Accepting the child's autism and expecting the rest of the world to also
This group wholeheartedly embraces their child's differences. They are the autism acceptance people. They think their child is perfect just the way they are, and the rest of the world needs to accept them as they are. I think this group is often parents that are a little on the spectrum themselves, and had a tough childhood because of it, and are determined that their children have a good childhood. They are the fighters for inclusion.
4. Accepting the child's autism but knowing the rest of the world might not
This group probably looks like slackers to the other groups. They accept their children the way they are, but do what they can to make the child better able to interact with a "normal" world. They might try a little of each of the other groups approaches here and there, but they are not do or die type people. They probably have other children, and might take a fairly relaxed view about a lot of things. Autism is not the focus of their life, although they adore their autistic child.
I would probably fall most into group 4, although I have a bit of 2 and 3 in me also, and I have utmost respect for the group 1 types. Every group has something to offer to the autism world. I don't think you can really choose which group you want to be in. Your personality, your background, your beliefs and world view----all combine to make you what you are. That's why it's crazy to fight. We all love our kids, we all want the best for them. We will all benefit from a world that understands autism better.