Imagine you are someone who simultaneously sees and hears the following things:
(I) red light flashing in front of you
(II) paper being scrunched in your ear
(III) someone yelling at you in your ear
(IV) someone tapping their finger on your desk
This scenario represents the day in a life of someone with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). ASD is a developmental disability that weakens an individual’s social interaction and communication. Children begin to show signs of ASD before the age of three. Various skills do not develop until adulthood.
I’ve decided to dedicate this article to correcting 10 myths about Autism that many people still believe to be true. Please share this with as many people as possible to help raise autism awareness. We may not understand where Autism comes from, but we at least are able to stick together and help one another and to educate ourselves about what autism is.
Myth # 1: There is a cure for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Truth: ASD is a lifelong disorder and stays with the person throughout his/her life. Although there is no cure, there are intensive programs designed to integrate individuals with the disorder. Many experts use different methods such as music therapy and social stories to treat people suffering because ASD.
Myth # 2: Bad Parentage is the cause of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Truth: Statistics and studies have not been able to back up this statement. Many parents are quite supportive of children with ASD. They have allied themselves with organizations such as Autism Speaks to help. Parents increasingly feel overwhelmed by the responsibilities that come with having a family member with ASD. Many have had to quit their jobs to better help their children.
Parents of autistic children sometimes meet disapproving eyes of people who believe their children’s behavior is simply because of bad parenting. This has long since been proved wrong. Fortunately, increased autism awareness has decreased such misconception.
Myth # 3: People with Autism are incapable of learning
Truth: This is dead wrong. Often, autistic people are behind their age mates and reach the developmental milestones later than normal. But when they get appropriate support, particularly with early intervention (when autism is discovered early, e.g. under the age of 3) autistic people can make incredible improvement and often keep up with their age mates in school.
Myth # 4: Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) show lack of emotion
Truth: Sometimes, because of the social difficulties, autistic people are considered to be “cold” because they do not seem to express love or show empathy. However, most autistic people are more than capable of feeling and expressing love though sometimes in unusual ways. Moreover, many autistic people are far more empathetic, though they may express their empathy in different ways than us. Every cue and every sign counts.
Myth # 5: Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are good at patterns and memorization
Truth: If anyone has read the book, The Curious Case of the Dog in the Night-Time, one would remember Christopher memorizing information and being concerned with patterns. His attention and focus were only on the topics he loved such as murder mysteries. Christopher is an example of someone with Asperger’s Syndrome, one of the 5 types of ASD. There are various individuals, who have trouble processing their information. They may try to memorize credit cards, essays, speeches and dates. However, many individuals with ASD can go into withdrawal because of an overload of information in their brain.
Myth # 6: Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) do not communicate well
Truth: 80% of individuals with ASD learn how to speak and communicate after intensive schooling and training. Many individuals like Temple Grandin serve as an example of someone, who overcame the barriers of ASD to become a professor, author and public speaker.
Myth # 7: We can understand and comprehend Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Truth: The ASD support ribbon is a good analogy to explain ASD. ASD cases are different. Each individual who has ASD may not have the same symptoms as his classmate. The contrast in colours in the ribbon represent that complexity of this disorder. Scientists cannot begin to understand ASD as each case is special.
Myth # 8: Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is represented by numerous Non-Profit Organizations
Truth: Many individuals would argue that ASD is not properly represented by non-profit organizations. Many organizations such as Autism Speaks fail to include individuals with ASD on their board councils. One should note that not all individuals with autism are the same. Many individuals grow up to be excellent role model and high functioning citizens in the globalizing world. They can represent themselves as much as others can.
Myth # 9: Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) cannot make eye contact
Truth: With intensive programs and school, individuals with ASD can make eye contact. Although they have difficulties social interacting with others, they can outgrow some of the symptoms as well. One should also remember that not all individuals with ASD have the same symptoms.
Myth # 10: Punishment can cure Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Truth: This is false. Many individuals with ASD are oversensitive to various situations. Punishment can make the situation worse.