Pervasive Myths about Autism
More than one percent of all American children have autism. That is no myth. In 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that one out of every 68 children that year were diagnosed with autism. That is over two times the number of children that were diagnosed eight years earlier.
What we do not know is whether the increased numbers are a result of more public awareness, and thus more people are seeking a diagnosis, or whether the numbers reflect a rising prevalence of the condition.
Regardless of which scenario is the case, it is hard to combat many myths that have arisen alongside the increased public awareness of autistic spectrum disorder. Often the media’s portrayal of autistic individuals gives people a skewed perspective on autism. On one hand, it is good that the public has an increased awareness of autism. Yet on the other hand, the public needs to be able to separate fact from fiction so they can make more informed decisions about public policy and in their relationships with people affected by autism. Here are some of the many misconceptions about autism:
People with Autism Are All the Same
People without autism are not all alike. Even close relatives, such as identical twins, can be astonishingly different asd hong kong in their beliefs, attitudes, and outlook on life. Just as no two people who have diabetes are the same, no two people with autism are affected in the same way by their condition.
Autism, like many neurological disorders, is on a wide and varied spectrum. Some people with autism talk enthusiastically with others, particularly about areas in which they have a keen interest. Others are completely nonverbal. Some may sing or rock to quiet themselves. Others have hypersensitivities to physical touch.
Many people with autism have difficulty deciphering social cues. Often that difficulty causes them to have an emotional barrier between themselves and others that takes time and patience to cross. Although it may take an extra effort to get to know someone with autism, the effort will prove well-worth the challenge.
People with Autism are Savants
This myth, fueled by human interest stories by well-meaning journalists about children with autism who are prodigies in various fields, causes the uninformed public to characterize all people with autism as savants. That is not at all the case. Only a few individuals on the autistic spectrum have talents in the arts or sciences that would characterize them as savants.
People with Autism Have Violent Tendencies
This misconception causes a lot of unwarranted fear on the part of people who are ignorant about autism. It is more the fear of the unknown that causes people to believe such patent nonsense. If people see a person with autism overreacting when her or his personal space is violated, they may believe that the person is violent. They are not. They simply are trying to communicate their discomfort in the best way they are able.