Part of Love Arts Leeds Festival 2012
Autism is one of the most discussed medical conditions in contemporary society. It is also one of the most misunderstood. For many, it is a disability that poses serious difficulties in engaging with the world. For others, it is a welcome indication of the wide variation inherent in the human condition. Biomedical research that aims to discover the genetic and neurological basis of autism may lead to new forms of treatment, but is treating autism appropriate? Vast sums of money are being invested to find a ‘cure’ for autism, but some autistic people believe that the results of such research could be tantamount to genocide. In an era of genetic advances and prenatal screening, but also of disability rights and the acceptance of difference, what do we think we know about autism? Do we see it as part of our collective future, or as a condition we would rather be without?