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Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by impaired social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication, and restricted and repetitive behavior.


  • The effort to cure autism, [autism right advocates] say, is not like curing cancer, but like the efforts of a previous age to cure left-handedness.
  • When parents say,
I wish my child did not have autism,
what they're really saying is,
I wish the autistic child I have did not exist, and I had a different (non-autistic) child instead. ...
This is what we hear when you mourn over our existence. This is what we hear when you pray for a cure. This is what we know, when you tell us of your fondest hopes and dreams for us: that your greatest wish is that one day we will cease to be, and strangers you can love will move in behind our faces.
  • You didn't lose a child to autism. You lost a child because the child you waited for never came into existence. That isn't the fault of the autistic child who does exist, and it shouldn't be our burden. We need and deserve families who can see us and value us for ourselves, not families whose vision of us is obscured by the ghosts of children who never lived. Grieve if you must, for your own lost dreams. But don't mourn for us. We are alive. We are real. And we're here waiting for you.
  • Thirty years ago it seemed right that there be no stigma in education and that everyone should get the same start in life, but there are problems in mixing everyone together. I was never happy about the inclusion of children with severe autistic problems in schools, for example, and I certainly don't think it is working today.
  • While autism is a developmental disorder, sometimes a devastating one, there is always within the autism a unique and sometimes strangely gifted individual. The great psychoanalyst Winicott used to feel that there was something like a tulip in every person and this was their essence and that this internal part of them was inaccessible to the person themselves and should not be meddled with or touched by psychoanalysis or anything else and one wonders if there is not some autistic essence like this tulip which needs to be respected and not meddled with.
    • Oliver Sacks, Rage For Order episode of Oliver Sacks: The Mind Traveller

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