I would like to talk a little bit about something with respect to adults who are on the Autism spectrum. The issue is the word “cure” that has been used within the biomedical community for several years. Not all doctors use the word cure but also some individuals who use the word cure as a goal or potential for those with Autism. I understand that the use of this word has created controversies and / or sparked anger within our Autism community, especially from adults who have Autism.
I want to state my perspective clearly, I have never used the term “cure” in any of my dialog regarding the biomedical treatments for autism. While I have seen people “recover” from the undering medical issues that were dealing with, the term “cure” implies a complete change of the underlying personality or the issues that are occurring in someone with Autism. I choose not to use that word and can certainly understand the frustration or disagreement some individuals with autism have with its use.
I see biomedicine as more than just a diet, giving supplements, or giving certain medicines. It really is about exploring the clinical health of an individual. And many times there are underlying issues that need to be addressed like biochemical imbalances, vitamin and amino acid deficiencies, dietary allergies, digestive problems or whatnot, and when they are addressed you see changes in cognition and improvement in their quality of life, whether they are a child, teen or adult with Autism. We are talking about optimizing someone's health, not “cure”, and to me, there is nothing wrong with trying to optimize someone's potential. I believe that improving the overall health of an individual should be the focus of every health pursuit, not to alter someone's personality. When you make these changes you find that the brain, immune system, gut, heart, lungs and body all function better.
The fact is that many people with autism suffer from, for example, issues with their digestive tract. By addressing those issues you do not have “recovery” necessarily but you do have an individual who feels better. And when you decrease pain and discomfort in their gut, they can then digest food better and they have less bowel issues and function better. It almost goes without saying that if you remove the physical pains, you can increase mental capacity and mental harmony.
So I wanted to talk about these issues in adults with Autism because I mostly see children in my practice but I have worked with adults who face the same health challenges as the children. And occasionally I will see an adult with Autism who has a child on the spectrum as well which then can show you just how much these things go hand in hand. So it is all about optimizing health, improving function so that the individual is able to reach their full potential, whatever that may be. We do not have to use the term “cure” but rather we can talk about the improvement in health and functionality.