FAKE NEWS. The claim: Autism can be cured According to Journalism.com, 45% of adults in the UK believe they see or read some form of ‘fake news’ every single day. Throw in Covid 19 – and a vaccination – and the already problematic world of autism on the internet becomes a pandemic of misinformation. For World Autism Acceptance Week we’ve decided to fact check three of the most popular autism assertions. The claim: Autism can be cured. Where does this come from? On the surface this one could seem sensible. I mean, if autism was a disease – then it stands to reason that there could be a cure. But here in lies the problem. From the get-go autism, and so autistic people, have been categorised by what is considered abnormal. Fascinated by how autistic children behaved, early studies would compare typical children in classrooms to other children displaying different ways of communicating, moving and being. It’s a simple process: if the majority conform to a societal norm, then the minority are not normal. And if something is not normal our human instinct is to correct it, or even eradicate it. So at this conjecture if we were to then tell you that the people making these assumptions, and carrying out the studies were doctors linked to Naziism, it stands to reason that anything that deviated from what was considered an ideal would then be framed as unwanted. And that’s exactly what happened. So needing a cure for the unwanted thing is the next logical conclusion. But is it true? No it isn’t. Since those early days of thinking autism was a childish form of schizophrenia, we’ve come a long way. Science has advanced, studies have progressed and we no longer see autism as something inherently bad. Autism, if you like, is just the word used to describe a normal variation in human brain ‘wiring’ that can neither be ‘cut out’ or treated away. It’s not good or bad, it’s neutral. That said, many of us who are autistic will face difficulties and it is true to say that we often have other co-existing conditions, so a cure culture has easily been able to take root. Are there things that can help some of us relax, or could help us achieve good sleep or nutrition? Yes. Is that a cure? No. Is autism someone’s fault to be reversed, or because of heavy metals that we should purge? Nope. Would a better way to see it be just like biodiversity – where there are lots of variations of the one thing? Meaning autism, as part of neurodiversity, is a normal variation of human neurology? Absolutely. Verdict: we refute the inherent negative assumption, thereby eradicating the need for a cure; therefore not giving quackery and potentially harmful miracle solutions a leg to stand on. A cure for Autism? Nothing but FAKE NEWS.