In 2015, I started an Autism A to Z series and this year, 2017, I am reevaluating and updating. This week will be about Emotions/Feelings. Today, let’s get started with 10 myths about Autism Spectrum Disorder. While it hasn’t happened in quite some time, there were definitely days where we would get a barrage of stares and dirty looks when we would go anywhere with Sweet B. There were times that I didn’t want to go out in public because of this but then I realized- this was my chance and my opportunity to educate and hopefully bring awareness and acceptance for my daughter.
10 Common Myths About Autism Spectrum Disorder
Myth #1: All individuals with autism are the same
False. Autism is a spectrum disorder so this disability runs the gamut. From higher functioning to lower functioning, verbal to non-verbal. Some individuals may have several accompanying disabilities (epilepsy or ADHD for example) in addition to autism.
Myth #2: Individuals with autism aren’t affectionate
False. Sweet B is very affectionate with people that she knows. And she’s always been that way.
Myth #3: You can outgrow or cure autism.
False. You can lessen the behaviors but autism will NOT magically go away overnight. With supportive therapies, you can lessen behaviors and you can make it easier for an individual with autism but this is a lifelong thing. This does not go away when a child turns 18.
Myth #4: Bad parenting causes autism
False. And if someone ever says this to me? Please be there with bail money because I will go ballistic. There are several theories as to what causes autism but nothing has been 100% proven yet.
Myth #5: Individuals with autism are just misbehaving
False. When an individual with autism is having a meltdown, it’s because something is not going right in their world and they have lost control. Over time, coping strategies can be developed to lessen the occurrence of meltdowns.
Myth #6: Individuals with autism will never amount to anything.
False… and says who? There are many successful individuals with autism. In fact, throughout history, several individuals were suspected to be on the Autism spectrum. Great composers like Mozart, scientists like Einstein. Actor Dan Aykyrod is on the spectrum.
Myth #7: Individuals with autism look normal
Well, that’s a matter of opinion and how you choose to define “normal”. If an individual with autism does look behaved and “normal”? Bless the parents and whatever they’ve gone through to get there. Besides, would you know what to look for when it comes to whether or not someone has autism? Autism does not have a specific look.
Myth #8: Individuals with autism cannot live a normal life
Again, this is a matter of opinion and how you define normal. For me? Autism is normal. I don’t force Sweet B to adapt to my world, I adapt to hers. But that’s not to say that individuals on the spectrum can’t live independently. For that matter, there are some adults who aren’t on the spectrum who aren’t capable of living normally or independently.
Myth #9: Individuals with autism are savants
No.. some are and some aren’t. To that end, just because an individual is a savant doesn’t mean that they’re also on the spectrum.
Myth #10: Individuals with autism don’t have feelings
False. So very false. They have feelings because they’re people. Some individuals just might not be able to express those feelings or they might express them in a different way. Sweet B, for example, when she’s happy- yes she’ll laugh, she’ll also flap her hands, and rock back and forth. When she gets frustrated, she’ll stomp up stairs. Sometimes she may have difficulty managing her feelings, but she definitely has them.
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So there you have it- 10 myths about autism spectrum disorder. Just ten of many, I imagine. And here’s to working towards acceptance, not just awareness for individuals with autism.
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