As autism prevalence rates have risen, public awareness about autism spectrum disorders has also increased. Unfortunately, there are still some common autism myths that people think are fact.
10 Common Autism Myths
1. Autism is caused by refrigerator mothers – Children with autism have parents that are cold and uncaring, which couldn’t be further from the truth.
2. All individuals with autism have cognitive disabilities – Autism is a spectrum and that means that there are individuals with genius-level IQs and those that are cognitively disabled
3. People with autism can’t love – Since some individuals with autism have problems showing their emotions in a typical manner, some people simply think that children with autism can’t love – boy are they wrong!
4. Autistics lack empathy – Some people with autism lack empathy and so do some neurotypical individuals. Don’t automatically assume that just because someone is on the autism spectrum that he isn’t empathetic.
5. People with autism don’t talk – Some people with autism don’t communicate verbally but have an AAC device to help them communicate. Other people with autism talk too much.
6. People with autism prefer to be alone – Sure, some people with autism may prefer their own company but most of the autistic individuals I know crave friendships, just like their neurotypical peers.
7. Every autistic person is a math genius – Thanks to the popularity of Dustin Hoffman’s character in ‘Rain Man’ – some people think that every person with autism is a math genius. Sure, there are some autistic savants but that is the exception not the norm.
8. You can’t hug a person with autism – Some kids with autism can’t stand being touched but guess what, I’m not a big touch-feely person myself and I’m not on the spectrum. My daughter, on the other hand, craves big bear hugs.
9. Vaccines cause autism – This is a hot topic, even today. In my opinion, vaccines, alone, do not cause autism. I believe that vaccines could trigger autism in a child already pre-disposed to the condition but I don’t believe that vaccines cause autism. Note: I do a delayed and selective vaccination schedule for other reasons and so I understand many parents’ concerns with vaccines in general.
10. There is an autism epidemic – If you look at my History of Autism in the United States Infographic then you will see that autism prevalence rates are on the rise. If you did more research though, you’d find that there are a bevy of reasons for this increase. As Temple Grandin said, “There tends to be a lot of autism around the tech centers…when you concentrate the geeks, you’re concentrating autism genetics.”
What is your least favorite autism myth and why?
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