A while back, I posted a piece on 'Normalisation' vs 'Teaching of Skills'(here). At the time, I knew that the latter wasn't a very good or even inclusive way to describe what i meant by this, but I couldn't think of a better word. Now I have. I've decided to call it 'Maximisation', as I feel this fits best what I mean. This is how I see the difference.
Normalisation is when parents (for instance) reject the child's autism, and see it as a 'tragedy', and become hell-bent on eliminating it, or suppressing all sign of it, no matter what the cost. While I am sure they (usually) mean well, it's my contention that they are mistaken in their belief that the autism can and should be eliminated (as opposed to specific problems, such as communication difficulties, lack of toilet training, etc). We all know instances of the horrors this approach can lead to, I'm sure.
Maximisation, on the other hand, is when parents (for instance) totally accept the child's autism, but want to maximise their child's happiness and chances in life as an autistic person, through various therapies, whether they be physical, social skills, biomedical, whatever. And it's my feeling that many parents are quietly going about things in exactly that way, despite the 'doom and gloom' messages being trumpeted by the big autism organisations.
I guess there are no prizes for guessing which I feel is the best approach, and the one most likely to lead to both the autist's happiness, and that of the parents, in the long run (less stress and expense).