According to this view, called neurodiversity by some, autism is groovy. Just breathe easy they say, relax, find the joy in your child's autism and with time things will improve. Your child doesn't talk or communicate in any way? Don't worry. If you just let up, stop abusing your child with ABA, and say nice things about autism your child will spontaneously recover some day, if you just let it happen. Let it be man, let it be.
Most parents, struggling to help their children, and dealing with the realities of living with, loving, and caring for autistic children know better. They know that autism is a serious disorder which impairs the life prospects of their children, a disorder which manifests itself in serious deficits. One of those deficits can be an extreme resistance to change. In Resistant to Change the Chicago Sun-Times tells the story of Matthew Buck and his family and how Matthew's autism, and his extreme insistence on routine affects their lives, from their daily lives to Matthew's inability to attend uncle's wedding reception because it would have been too upsetting to interrupt his daily routine.
Resistant to Change also highlights a study being done at the University of Illinois at Chicago, which recently won a $9.6 million federal grant to study causes and possible treatments of insistence on sameness.
UIC researchers will study genetics, brain chemistry, brain functions, etc., that might explain insistence on sameness.
Insistence on sameness is a classic sign of autism. A child might, for example, line up his toys in an unchanging order, or want to always take the same route home.
About 20 percent of autistics have extreme forms of the behavior. Interrupting their routines can trigger temper tantrums, hitting and biting. It's one of the most "troublesome and debilitating" characteristics of autism, said Dr. Edwin Cook, director of the UIC Autism Center of Excellence. And it's one of the main reasons some autistics must be institutionalized, he said.