Let’s set the records straight once and for all, so pay attention. We will be exposing some of the most outrageous yet popular myths about autism.
Laying Down the Statistics
In a recent report provided by the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in 68 kids was identified to have autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Between boys and girls, boys are more susceptible to developing the illness than girls. Despite the disorder’s pervasiveness in our society, people are not well-aware of what it is and how it happens which makes them victims of false beliefs.
Myth and Facts
“The neurodiversity movement in the field seeks to apply a culturally competent view of people diagnosed with ASD or other neurological or neurodevelopmental diagnoses,” says Ali Cunningham, LMHC. For decades, society has been utterly confused on the facts and fallacies about autism. Sadly, a great deal of those misconceptions is still permeating people’s thinking today. To correct those misunderstandings, we are revealing some of the myths that are widely known today about ASD.
Myth 1: Vaccines Cause Autism
Fact: For parents who are apprehensive to get their children vaccinated for the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine, do not worry because vaccines are not the bringer of autism in the family. No scientific report has proven this claim correct. Just because the majority of autism signs and symptoms appear during vaccine season doesn’t necessarily mean that vaccines have somehow influenced the occurrence of the disorder.
Myth 2: Autistic Children Are Unfriendly
Fact: Here’s a piece of advice before you believe everything you watch on television: Take a moment to research that particular topic especially if it’s about the social life of your autistic children. Most of what is depicted on TV are exaggerated and are far from reality because there are those who are totally out-of-character (OOC) portraying autism as a disorder that doesn’t mingle with the crowd or is socially disconnected or aloof. Janeen Herskovitz, LMHC once said that, “Healthy boundaries are necessary for self-care, and healthy relationships and most people are not equipped with these important life skills.”
The truth is, a lot of kids with autism are desperate to make friends but are just unable to not because of lack of motivation but because of not having the proper social tools to create meaningful interaction. Most of the time, they would come out shy or awkward. It is when autistic kids feel that they are not making a connection that they just give up on socializing with other kids, and this is not a good feeling for them.
Myth 3: Autistic Kids Are Gifted Kids
Fact: Though some may exhibit special giftedness, not all autistic kids are intellectually unique. Having an autistic child doesn’t automatically qualify him or her as someone with an IQ of 140 and above. Autism does have a variety of exceptional positive qualities and having high intellect is one of them. If your child does not exhibit unprecedented brainpower, he or she may have remarkable attention to detail, fondness of repetitive assignments, precision, and impressive technological skills.
Myth 4: Autism Is Curable
“There is no cure for autism, nor is there one single treatment for autism spectrum disorders. But there are ways to help minimize the symptoms of autism and to maximize learning.” –Karla Helbert, LPC, E-RYT, C-IAYT
Fact: Unfortunately, this is a disorder that sticks with you through the end. However, there are ways to manage autism from becoming a hindrance to daily activities. Currently, treatments like behavioral therapy can significantly help in developing communication and social tools that kids with autism lack. If parents are involved with their children’s disorder, there is a higher chance that once they grow up, they will function and live normally.
Parents are strongly encouraged not to be disheartened by the diagnosis and are advised to just focus on the children’s talents and passions while honing tools that they lack. Believing in myths is unhelpful in dealing with autism. However, understanding the science behind the disorder allows better insight in meeting the needs and facing the challenges of raising a child with autism spectrum disorder.