An organization made up of Asperger’s Syndrome patients, their loved ones, and those who may suffer from other autism related disorders, Aspies for Freedom is an enigma in the advocacy for the autism movement. Rather than supporting the search for a cure, they instead believe that Asperger’s syndrome, autism, and related conditions are simply an expression of being different, not something that requires curing.
This flies in the face of most autism charities that have active fundraising efforts with a light on spending at good share of the money on genetic research. This of course gives rise to the fear that – much like Down syndrome – a genetic test that could positively identify the presence of autism or Asperger’s Syndrome in an unborn child would lead to a large number of elective abortions. Just like many prospective parents choose to terminate a pregnancy when a child is considered likely to suffer from Down syndrome, Aspies believe that such tests will reduce the number of autistic and Asperger’s Syndrome children being born.
What makes this a dangerous proposition is the fact that many Aspies find that with proper adaptations, the quality of life that may be enjoyed by them is similar to that of those unaffected by the disorders. To this end, Aspies for Freedom argue that instead of funding genetic research, monies donated to autism foundations and charities should be used for finding and implementing the proper modifications and adaptations for current learning tools and utensils.
This of course brings up an excellent point: should Asperger’s Syndrome and autism be approached as diseases which may be eradicated via the genetic selection process, or should they be incorporated into mainstream consciousness as conditions which simply demand a different approach to everyday common tasks? Aspies would argue vociferously for the latter, while a good many scientists would like to approach the entire situation from a different angle and prevent or cure the conditions.
Curing autism or Asperger’s Syndrome is of course not possible at this point, and many Aspies point to an inadequate support system as being unpardonable in light of so many fundraisers and assistance drives that have resulted in a lot of monetary support for the cause. In addition to the foregoing, the search for prevention – via genetic testing – or a cure with the help of questionable method that many Aspies believe to do more harm than good is resulting in a wrong approach to the condition as a whole, focusing on future generations instead of current sufferers.
It is unlikely that Aspies for Freedom and those in search for autism or Asperger’s Syndrome cures will every see eye to eye. Moreover, there is little reason to believe that foundations and fundraisers will be swayed by their arguments. Although not considered a fringe group, Aspies have failed, thus far, to commandeer its fair share of support that is usually offered to the autism charities and overall community at large, most likely deepening the rift between those who would like to see modernized support and those who would want to see more genetic and medical research done.