I posted a comment that referred him to Kevin Leitch's recent post Biomed Is A Spectrum and explained that neurodiversity advocates do not object to reasonable diets and vitamins, but rather to harmful products and quack therapies.
Then I started to wonder if his misconception about autistic activists came from reading rants against "curebies," which usually have no definition of the word. I decided that it would be useful to clarify just what goes into the curebie mindset and why conscientious parents who care about their children's health and well-being are not curebies.
The defining characteristic of a curebie is a fanatical desperation to destroy a child's autistic traits in their entirety. Autism takes on a separate and distinct identity in the curebie mind; it is personified as a demonic foe that must be defeated at all costs. The child ceases to be seen as a sentient person and instead is treated as if he were a battleground for a cosmic struggle between good and evil. Jonathan Shestack, co-founder and president of Cure Autism Now, exemplified this mindset when he wrote that autism parents do not have a child but "a shell, a ghost of all the dreams and hopes you ever had."
Curebie-ism can be described as a cultlike ideology of exorcising the "demon" of neurological difference. It is not about any particular diet or therapy, although many curebies become obsessed with one snake-oil product or another. Their fanatical quest often leads them to endanger their child's health with bogus treatments. Some curebies idolize quacks like Mark Geier and David Geier, who are infamous for using chemical castration drugs on autistic children and committing blatant insurance fraud, as well as other conscienceless hucksters who peddle poison.
To pay for whatever they see as a potential cure, many curebies go deeply into debt and then blame their child for ruining their life. There are some curebies who fantasize about killing their autistic child, have no qualms about saying so while the child is listening, and seek to justify their murderous views by asserting that all parents of autistic children "share that hidden, dark thought," as two board members of Autism Speaks, Harry and Laura Slatkin, recently claimed. Curebies like this are so full of hate toward their own children that many of them support genetic research to exterminate the entire global autistic population through prenatal screening and eugenic abortion.
Some curebies troll the neurodiversity blogs and post bigoted comments that insult autistics. I'm not going to bother to provide an example of such comments, as I expect they'll show up soon enough and make it very plain what I'm talking about.
Here's a quick test for any parent who may still be unsure of what curebie-ism is. If you care whether your autistic child thinks you are a curebie—you're not one.