One of my fellow writers at Associated Content messaged me with the following question: “Is there hope on the horizon for a cure to Autism Spectrum Disorder?” It was a question that really made me think. I believe more strongly than ever that the answer to this question is yes. Yes! There is hope for our kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder and I believe that the answer to the puzzling dilemma that Autism Spectrum Disorder presents is coming.
I remember when my sixteen year old son with Autism Spectrum Disorder was diagnosed fourteen years ago. I was told that he had something rare, and that I would have to special order a book about it from one certain company. I was twenty three years old at the time, and it was difficult to find any information at all to help him. Hardly anyone had ever even heard of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Now, I marvel as I see that two whole shelves at Barnes and Noble are full of Autism Spectrum Disorder books. The same is true at Borders and other booksellers.
When he was four years old and still largely nonverbal except for a single word here and there, I used to have very vivid dreams that we were sitting on a brick wall together and having a long conversation. Daniel could talk in these dreams and he was talking with me very animatedly. “Don’t wake up! Don’t wake up!” I would warn myself on some level in the midst of the dream. But then I would wake up with tears streaming down my cheeks, not from sadness but from desire.
Even in those dark moments, I had hope. During those times people such as Temple Grandin, PhD gave me hope through her inspiring story of having overcome Autism Spectrum Disorder to the point that she could be a scientist, inventor and professor. She still considers herself to have Autism Spectrum Disorder yet I was impressed by her accomplishments in life. Also, I used to be encouraged by Raun Kaufman’s life. Raun was diagnosed as severely Autistic and mentally retarded yet ultimately was retested with an IQ in the very superior range. By all accounts, Raun lives a normal life. Back then, hope was scarce but the stories of these people who beat the odds buoyed my hope.
I know that more and more daring physicians will put their medical training in research to good use and rise to the formidable challenge that Autism Spectrum Disorder represents. That gives me tremendous hope for a cure in the future as does the courage of the families and the children themselves.
“Hope sees the invisible, feels the intangible and achieves the impossible.”Anonymous