Prevention. Cure. Early detection. What do these terms mean in the context of autism research?
In order to get a full picture of what autism prevention means, we must also consider the effects of prevention on many other disabled communities. While the topic is very complicated in terms of women’s health and choices, there is also considerable evidence that prenatal testing and early detection of disabilities has “prevented” disabilities by selectively aborting disabled pregnancies.
With respect to the autistic community, many autistic people are happy to be alive and do not seek to become non-autistic. Instead, we want to live in a world that supports and embraces autism.
Unfortunately, the majority of funding in autism research goes toward genetics. In other words, the autism research that receives the most money is based around early detection of autism and preventing the existence of autistic people through prenatal, genetic testing.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars go toward “curing” or ridding the world of autism. All the while, autistic people themselves are in need of accommodations, supports, and legislation that is far too often accused of being too expensive to implement.
On April 30th, Jimmy Kimmel and Mark Rober with other celebrities are hosting an online fundraising event with NEXT For Autism, an organization that does not include autistic voices on their board and has deep roots with organizations that focus on autism “prevention.”