Any time someone hears the word autism, there is generally a few things that people think of, however, in most cases, these things are myths. On Feb. 11 The Stir made a list of myths that most people think of when they hear about autism spectrum disorders in hopes of dispelling some myths; Here are the most important seven that you should know.
- Autism is not a parenting problem- Many people think that autism is a parenting problem because children on the spectrum can have some wicked meltdowns anywhere, anytime when they become overwhelmed or don't understand things. Many parents that don't know what autism is or what it looks like often think that the child is having a tantrum and a good spanking or time out will work when in all actuality, the problem is a lack of understanding and associating a consequence like time out with the action that put them there. Autism is also not a result of a parent's frigidity as most parents love their children even if they have autism, they just have to do things differently.
- Autism isn't a mental problem- Many automatically assume that autism is a mental disorder when in fact it is a neurological disorder that prevents a person's brain chemistry to function the same way as someone without autism. It effects their way of thinking, their activity, and social abilities.
- Autism doesn't make your child retarded or a savant- Many people assume that if a child has ASD that they will be some kind of "Rainman" savant or completely mentally retarded. Neither is the case. While many ASD kids will obsess over some things such as Thomas the Train, they all have some strengths they are very good at and some that they don't do well with at all like any other person.
- Autism causes a person to lack feelings- People with ASD do not lack empathy or know how to love or to be loved. They can show just as much empathy and love as anyone else, social connections and body language are the most difficult to learn. In fact most people with ASD are more loving because they have fewer filters to block out other's feelings.
- Autistic people need to be taught eye contact- Most people with ASD now how to give eye contact and can hold a conversation with a person, but they have a hard time doing both at the same time. Eye contact can be physically painful for an autistic person, therefore, value it when it comes.
- Autistic people don't like to be touched- It's true that sensory issues can be a problem for most autistic people. However, most people with ASD are overly friendly and will even hug strangers when they see them.
- A pregnant woman's diet doesn't make the child autistic- Many parents hear that they should have eaten better during pregnancy. The truth of the matter is that a person can be the healthiest eater during pregnancy and their child can still have autism because it is often genetically inherited.
- There is an autism epidemic- The CDC says that one in every 88 children have autism, one in 55 of those are boys. Until recently, most of those children would have been diagnosed with something else, so there isn't actually an epidemic just a severe case of misdiagnosis, and really, under-diagnosis if those numbers are true.
What myths do you hate most about autism?