I never knew there was an Autism Pride Day before yesterday, when I came across it online. In fact this is Autism Pride Week:
Autism Pride Week begins on Father’s Day, Sunday, June 16th, with our kick-off speaking event by the 2013 National Book Critic’s Award winner for non-fiction, Andrew Solomon, at the charming jewel-box like Diana Wortham Theater, centrally located in downtown Asheville in the Pack Square Cultural Center. Also in the city center, the three-day film festival of autism related films will be held at the historic Fine Arts Theater. - SourceWhat and why?
Autistic Pride Day, an Aspies for Freedom initiative, is a celebration of the neurodiversity of people on the autism spectrum on June 18 each year. Autistic pride recognises the innate potential in all people, including those on the autism spectrum.
In June, the organisations around the world celebrate Autistic Pride Day, with events around the world, to persuade "neuro-typicals", people not on the autism spectrum, that autistic people are "unique individuals" who should not be seen as cases for treatment.
Autistic pride asserts that autistic people have a unique set of characteristics that provide them many rewards and challenges. Although autism is an expression of neurodiversity, some people promoting Autistic pride believe that some of the difficulties that they experience are as the result of societal issues. For instance, campaigns to gain funding for autism related organizations promote feelings of pity. Researchers and people with high-functioning autism have contributed to a shift in attitudes away from the notion that autism is a deviation from the norm that must be treated or cured, and towards the view that autism is a difference rather than a disability. New Scientist magazine released an article entitled "Autistic and proud" on the first Autistic Pride Day that discussed the idea. - SourceAs stated in another Wikipedia article, an "autistic culture has developed, with some individuals seeking a cure and others believing autism should be accepted as a difference and not treated as a disorder."
I never knew that.
"Diagnosis is based on behavior, not cause or mechanism."
I'm not sure, but from what I've read so far, I believe most agree that there is a 'strong genetic basis' for autism. There are those who seek a cure, and apparently there is a growing number who object to seeking a cure - hence Autism Pride Week.
What I find very interesting is that autism may develop in the womb, or in infancy - and signs are normally recognized before three years of age. Thus one could say a person was indeed 'born this way'. As the child develops, from what I understand, he can regress after a certain point. Some individuals progress however and live successful, integrated, lives, and so on. Others seem to come 'out of it' completely.
All known teratogens (agents that cause birth defects) related to the risk of autism appear to act during the first eight weeks from conception, and though this does not exclude the possibility that autism can be initiated or affected later, it is strong evidence that autism arises very early in development. - SourceTo be sure, I know very little about the 'disorder', but I find the research very interesting.
Go here for a List of people with autism spectrum disorders.