Myths About Autism Busted
Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by impaired social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication, and restricted and repetitive behaviour that generally appear before the age of 3.It is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Some cases are strongly associated with certain infections during pregnancy including rubella and use of alcohol or cocaine. Early speech or behavioural interventions can help children with autism gain self-care, social, and communication skills. Below are few myths about autism which are busted.
- All children with autism are non-verbal or have limited verbal abilities. This is sometimes true. However, there are also children with autism who talk…a lot…who have parents who wish they would hush sometimes.
- Children with autism lack creativity. This is a 50-50 situation. Some reported cases have shown children with great culinary and artistic skills; however some haven’t shown similar outcomes.
- People with autism feel no empathy or affection. People with autism sometimes have trouble expressing affection, but it doesn’t mean they don’t feel it. We believe that they feel the same range of emotions we all do: fear, happiness, nerves, anger, etc. It may be difficult for them to understand that everyone doesn’t know the same facts that they do, but that is very different from not feeling empathy.
- There are many treatments that cure autism. There are therapies that treat autism, but nothing that cures it.
- Autism meltdowns are a result of poor parenting. Often a meltdown might start because a child with autism is not getting what he wants in a situation. However, it is not because of poor parenting that it turns to a meltdown. It becomes a meltdown because the child is unable to internally manage the feelings and emotions that come from being told “no.” The difference is that a child having a tantrum chooses to act out and watches to see if the audience is paying attention.
- Children with autism are intellectually disabled. Yes, there are a large number of children with autism who are intellectually disabled, but it is not always the case. Many children with average or superior intelligence are also diagnosed with autism.
- Children with autism flap their hands and rock constantly. This repetitive behaviour is called stimming. Stimming does often present itself with hand flapping and rocking, but it can also be nail biting, tapping fingers, repeating words or phrases, etc. Stimming at our house involves shredding paper, constant bouncing, and banging on things.
- Children with autism are savants. It is rare for children to have savant syndrome. According to Health of Children, only about 10-25% of children with autism have savant syndrome as well.Savant Syndrome is a condition in which a person with a developmental disability demonstrates profound and prodigious capacities or abilities far in excess of what would be considered normal.