On Father's Day I am thankful for my good fortune in having two terrific sons. One regularly returns A+ grades, learns in, and speaks, both French and English. My younger son, Conor, follows an individual education program designed for him, learns by ABA instruction, and does not have a full command or understanding of English or any other language. Both make me very happy. For both I am thankful today.
This blog is about autism because Conor has Autistic Disorder, assessed with profound developmental delays. I find great joy in Conor but not in his autism. The pictures accompanying this comment reflect some of the affection that Conor has for me, as his Dad, and some of the joy he brings to life.
Unlike some fathers with "autism" blogs I do not believe that the joy Conor brings arises from his autism. To me his affectionate, playful, personality is not a result of his autism. It is simply the essence of Conor. Because I love my son I refuse to follow the lead of those internet blogging fathers at the misnamed Autism Hub who try to suppress candid descriptions of autism. I believe I owe it to my son, who can not tell the world his story, to tell it for him and to tell it honestly; untainted by the ideology of the Neurodiversity movement that glorifies autism.
Because I love my son I fight to help him overcome the severely limiting deficits that his Autistic Disorder brings. To that end I have fought for Applied Behavior Analysis, ABA, interventions for him and other autistic children because ABA enjoys an incredible basis of evidence in support of its effectiveness. No other intervention enjoys anywhere near that level of support. And I will never fall victim to the "sweet surrender" mindset of glorifying autism as anything other than what it is - a serious neurological disorder.
There is currently no cure for autism. If a cure arises, substantiated by solid evidence and research, and recommended for Conor by a knowledgeable specialist I would not hesitate to seek that cure for Conor so that he might live life to its fullest as independently as possible. And I don't care one iota whether the word "cure" offends some stranger sitting at a keyboard somewhere in the world who is offended by the word cure, or the idea of a cure. The stranger can appear in flashy magazines or on network television posing as a human rights advocate but he is not acting in my son's best interests. I am Conor's father and it is me that fights for him and his interests, not the posing stranger.
On this Father's Day I repeat publicly the vow that I make to myself privately every day to help Conor live and enjoy life to the fullest extent possible.