For me, autism has always been an issue that I could get self-righteously worked up over, with the whole celebrity-fueled, vaccine link controversy. Sort of like how I argue about alternative medicine or intelligent design or when I root for a particular football team... things that are fun to get passionate about because they hardly affect my life at all.
Now though, it's hitting close to home as my almost 1.5 year old son is falling behind developmentally and there's a long list of "red flags" for some kind of autistic spectrum disorder. I'm starting this painfully drawn out process of evaluation and (hopefully) treatment, with a very uncertain future for all involved. Everything I'm reading says early, "intensive" intervention is key to a good outcome, but what exactly does that mean and how do I get it?
And on the other hand there are plenty of family members suggesting we're overreacting and worrying over nothing. Just give it time and everything will come out all right.
Then I read about a whole group of people who seem to be against working toward a cure altogether. They believe that labels like "autistic" are harmful. We should all just learn to appreciate and value everyone for who they are, instead of trying to fix them when they aren't broken. I can sympathize with this viewpoint, especially now that it's so personal, but don't think I can follow it myself.
Autism is all over the news with prevalence rates now being estimated at 1 in 88 people (1 in 54 boys!). Why so high now? Where the heck are all these people anyway? And there's also the controversy of changing the diagnostic criteria, which could affect reimbursement for services among other things.
Just thought I'd see if anyone has any thoughts about all this as I struggle to get mine together.