To spend time with the Maloneys is to realize that there are two different worlds in autism.
Of course, many researchers in the field now say that the symptoms and abilities of autistic children vary so widely that we ought to be talking about several different "autisms."
On a practical level, though, the picture the Maloneys paint is much different than the image people get when they see highly talented autistic people like Temple Grandin or John Elder Robison.
Among many who occupy the higher-functioning realms of autism, including those with Asperger's syndrome, there is resentment toward any talk of "curing" autism. They want the condition to be recognized as a special set of differences and gifts.
As a fundraiser for Autism Speaks, whose mission statement says it is "dedicated to funding global biomedical research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a possible cure for autism," Lisa constantly hears from people who hate the term "cure."
"In families with autism whose kids do really well, they get almost angry at people who say we want a cure or want a change. I say to this one young man who always brings it up to me, 'Look: if my son could be you, that would be a cure.' "
"As a parent who has a child on the more severe end of the spectrum, I think that's a very different thing than someone with high-functioning Asperger's.
"I want that for my own child, to tell you the truth. I would think I had gone to heaven if my child could be an Asperger's child. But even for the Asperger's children, it's not normal. You can ask everyone to accept you for who you are, but you are not in that straight and normal part of the world."