I thought I'd share this letter, recently published in The Spectator...
'Jonathan Mitchell, an autistic writer, argues that autism is an affliction and that a cure should be found. When my son was diagnosed I would have agreed with him, but I disagree strongly now. My son's autism comes with real challenges, but I value the ways it's helped him become a thoroughly decent person: he doesn't lie, it wouldn't occur to him to be nasty and he's totally logical. Surely, the world needs more people like him, not fewer.
As Mr Mitchell says, the autism spectrum is huge, encompassing people who can't communicate, who are locked in a sensory hell and need a high level of care, often for conditions that are not part of their autism. Then there are "higher functioning" autistic people who work as lawyers and have families, who do a better impression of a non-autistic person, often at a cost to their mental health.
The neurodiversity proponents I speak to aren't against research, particularly to alleviate the sensory chaos that can be experienced. But the isolation and the lack of employment Mr Mitchell describes need to be addressed not by eradicating autistic people, but by non-autistic people accepting that there are equally valid, but different, ways of being and socialising.'
Jessie Hewitson, author of 'Autism: How to Raise a Happy Autistic Child.'