Greatest 10 Autism Myths Vs Facts, Stereotypes, and Misconceptions
Though I am no doctor, nor a scientist, through much continual research I have gained enough critical insight to be able to say what is real and what isn’t about autism spectrum disorder. I want to address the ignorance circulating around the Internet and to dispel misconceptions and simple, common myths of autism. The list I provide below rank from the least to the greatest myths of autism, with the last being the greatest of all myths, which you don’t want to miss!
Greatest Myth #1: Autistics Have No Empathy
Fact: Autistic people can be extremely compassionate and truly care deeply about others. They struggle with fitting their feelings of caring and sympathy into daily interactions.
ASD can make it very challenging in picking up on a total stranger’s facial expressions, tone of voice, and body language. Do not mistake this “inability” for indifference.
Greatest Myth #2: Autistics are Anti-Social
Fact: Though some autistic people are very happy and comfortable in their own company, most long for friends like anyone else.
Bear in mind, social situations are far more difficult for anyone with a disability which impairs their social interaction and communication skills. It may take more effort for autistics to manage, and several are fearful of offending people by accident. So consequently they may feel rather shy. And, since they usually have problems making small, informal talk, they may sometimes appear as uninterested or remote.
Greatest Myth #3: Autistics Will Never Fall in Love
Fact: Many autistics have girlfriends, boyfriends, wives, and husbands, and are happy as anyone else.
Although dating is fraught with unspoken social rules, making it that more challenging for autistic individuals, and although many feel quite uncomfortable with physical contact, autistics do find the right person sooner or later.
Having autism does not necessarily mean you are unable to feel love, or you are not lovable. Everyone must work continuously at their relationships, and with affection and dedication, romance does blossom for autistics.
Greatest Myth 4: Autism is a Mental Sickness
Fact: Autism is not a disease but a neurological condition in which the brain processes information differently. This may seem inconsequential, but it’s really a very important distinction.
The diagnostic Statistical Manual, the doctor’s handbook on mental illnesses, does list autism, which may create some unintended confusion; but, autism is not classified as a mental illness.
Greatest Myth #5: Autism is a Boy’s Condition
Fact: Although 4 times as many boys as girls are diagnosed with autism, there exist debate whether this is totally accurate representation of the genuine statistics, for girls frequently demonstrate their autism rather differently from boys and thus can be under-diagnosed as a result.
Greatest Myth #6: Autism is Caused by Poor Parenting
Fact: Not true!
This myth took root back in the 1940s when Leo Kanner, an early psychiatrist, identified autism and threw the”blame” on a “lack of maternal warmth,” the theory of the “refrigerator mother” was promoted further by psychologist Bruno Bettelheim. The theory was that autistic children withdrew into themselves on account of their parents failing to provide the necessary love and affection.
Greatest Myth #7: Autistics Are Dumb
Fact: Since autism is a developmental disability and not intellectual, it affects a person’s ability to communicate and interact with people, make a person set in his ways, and may burden him with sensory-processing issues; but none of these impact intelligence.
Like most people, autistics are a rather mixed crowd, some being brighter than others. Those with severe impairments can be more prone to showing a lower IQ; on the other hand, those with milder impairments frequently have IQs which are above average.
What also can occur is that anyone may have an “uneven educational profile,” meaning he is much better at some things than others. Because the majority of people with high IQs do perform quite well, it’s clearly easy to see areas in which an autistic person may be struggling and imagine this is a sign that his intelligence level is low.
Greatest Myth #8: All Autistics Are Alike
Fact: Autistics are as uniquely different from each other as everyone else. Of course, many may share some common characteristics; but you can say the same thing about people in general.
Greatest Myth 9: Autistics have Children with Autism
Fact: Nobody is ever born with autism; autism is a condition caused purely by the environment, meaning something in the environment caused a person to get autism. Thus, a pregnant woman who happens to be autistic, cannot pass her autism to her unborn baby. What is occurring here is that since infants are getting autism, people are under the illusion and developing the misconception that they are inheriting ASD from either parent.
Many first-rate and the brightest researchers have developed elaborate, sophisticated, and fascinating theories, some remarkably convincing, that are based mainly on flawed genes. The latest one is that genetic mutations are spontaneous, meaning they are taking place in the affected child, but in neither parent.
I get it: they are trying to make sense and unravel the mystery that shrouds autism. But the reality is: these are only theories–stabs at the unknown and attempts to explain and understand the potential causes of autism.
Greatest Myth #10: Autism is Incurable
Fact: Although many people are stuck with their autism, some very few and unusually fortunate individuals are actually getting cured by random luck, because their parents never gave up trying to find a cure.
Not exactly a misconception but a point I think is worth clarifying: because of the rigid mindset so common among people with ASD, autistics have an unbending hatred for anything that slightly suggests change. Thus, if a treatment is mentioned to them that may potentially reverse core symptoms of ASD, they would immediately dismiss, ignore, or disbelieve in such a treatment; that hatred for change is part of ASD, and one must expect a similar response or reaction from everyone with autism.
When Someone comes down with a nasty flu, that individual is usually and normally inclined not to want to stay sick, forever! So, when the famous and still autistic Temple Grandin said, "If I could snap my fingers and be non-autistic, I would not. Autism is part of what I am," that is not really her but autism doing the talking; this shows how deeply Temple has fallen into the "jaws of autism" that she cannot even imagine living a life apart from it! And, those autistics who claim that autism is their "super power," are exhibiting the same passionate I-hate-change mindset; again, autism is speaking and clearly winning. Autism is not their savior, not their "super power," but is their cross, their anchor that won't allow them to see the trees from the forest.