20 Dec Five Myths About Autism Spectrum Disorder
Though the internet can be quite informative, there are a number of myths and false information about many topics, including Autism Spectrum Disorder. As a result of these myths, people tend to misjudge and avoid people on the spectrum.
Autism Spectrum Disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder that causes communication and social interaction difficulties. Individuals on the spectrum also show a preference for restricted and repetitive activities, and they have challenges adapting to change. Individuals with ASD have different and distinct ways of learning, reacting to situations, and coping with stress or change. Early detection and behavioral interventions can lessen the symptoms of ASD and improve the quality of life. But symptoms appear in different degrees and methods from one individual to another.
As the popular saying in the community goes, “if you have met one person with autism, you have met one person with autism.” Here are some of the myths that many people associate with individuals that have ASD.
Myth 1: Bad Parenting Causes Autism
For decades many people, including medical professionals, believed that autism is a result of refrigerator parenting. The term “refrigerator mom” first appeared in Dr. Leo Kanner’s 1943 paper about autism. The psychiatrist noted in his paper that parents of autistic children seemed cold and emotional, and their behaviors rubbed off on their children. Though it took more than three decades, this theory has been proven to be false.
Though there is still no known cause of autism, researchers have found that genetics and certain environmental factors may play a significant role.
Myth 2: People with ASD Hate Communicating
One of the core traits of people with autism is that they have difficulties with communication. They often cannot process non-verbal exchanges, such as gestures and facial expressions. Though behavioral interventions can help improve communication, people with autism also have their own ways of communicating.
Myth 3: People with ASD Have no Empathy
Another myth about people with ASD is that they lack empathy and sympathy. Recent research has shown that people on the spectrum might have difficulties catching certain social cues. So, they do not have all the tools needed to be aware of certain things like others. But this does not mean they are cold and heartless. They have emotions and feelings for others too. They may just have a more difficult time expressing these things.
Myth 4: People with ASD Have an intellectual disability
Many people associate intellectual disabilities with people with ASD, especially those who are non-verbal. This belief is false. Many people who are autistic have extraordinary intellectual abilities, regardless of whether they are non-verbal or not. Parents and teachers have to tailor their educational needs to suit their learning abilities. Autism does not necessarily have to limit one’s personal and professional goals.
Myth 5: Everyone With ASD Has Extraordinary Intellectual Abilities
In the same vein, it is false that everyone with autism can read fast, memorize things immediately, or compute large figures in their heads. Extraordinary intellectual abilities may or may not appear in people with autism or those without.
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