Still today we are surrounded by countless myths concerning Autism and Aspergers Syndrome. Yes, we’ve come far to raise awareness for autism and the fact its a spectrum condition but still many struggle to except that some things are myth as opposed to fact.
Here’s some great examples…
Those on the autism spectrum have late language development!
Now although to some extent this is true, its not always the case especially in those at the higher end of the spectrum (Aspergers). Little man actually said his first word at 5 months and was able to speak very well by the age of 12 months.
Children on the autism spectrum make low academic progress because of learning difficulties.
Again this maybe the case for some children, mainly those at the lower end of the spectrum. However, some children on the spectrum have no learning difficulties whatsoever with some actually having higher IQ levels than those of their peers.
All children on the autism spectrum cannot attend mainstream schooling.
Admittedly mainstream school admitted that they could no longer meet little man’s needs and he eventually gained a place at an autism special school. This was despite him being on the higher end of the autism spectrum with an Aspergers diagnosis and a high IQ. Like many children with Aspergers he struggled with the more social side of school and suffered terrible anxiety. The truth is children with autism can receive a mainstream education… It just depends on the child and school in questions.
People on the autism spectrum don’t have feelings.
This is a big fat myth! If anything Little man feels to much and its these feelings of love and worry that cause him to become anxious. For little man its just harder for him to express those feelings… I know they are there and that’s a huge difference.
People on the autism spectrum don’t have an imagination.
Again this is a big fat fib. Little man finds it difficult to play imaginary games as he likes to base things on fact. He also likes to have a visual reference. However little man uses his imagination in other ways and is extremely clever at creating ideas when relating to something of interest.
All people with autism hate loud noise.
This is all down to the senses and regardless of autism we all have our own level of tolerance. Yes, many people with autism have heighten senses and this can make loud noise very uncomfortable (often to the point it becomes physically painful). However as well as children with autism experiencing sensory sensitivity, some are actually sensory seekers and will therefore seek out some type of loud noise.
All children who like Thomas the tank engine are autistic!
What can I say… Total Bull S#%# Yes little man liked Thomas the tank engine and statistics indicate that many children on the autism spectrum have a liking for Thomas at some point, however lots of children love Thomas and not all are autistic… That’s just crap.
All people with Autism are the same. If one person with autism experiences a certain difficulty then so will another.
Rubbish! This is why we call it a spectrum. Plus no two people are the same, we all have our own traits with and without autism. Yes there are a certain collection of traits that make up an autism diagnosis but this is a limited number.
All people with autism are Savants.
As lovely a myth as this is, it is just that… A myth! We all have things we are good at but only some of us have what it takes to be considered as Gifted which is the same for those on the autism spectrum. Many people with autism have things they are extremely good at (like little mans ability to memorise travel information) but rainman he isn’t and this is often the case for many.
Autism can be cured!
Most know how I feel about this myth. Autism is a life long diagnosis… There isn’t a cure. However, with the right education and learnt social skills things can be made less difficult for those on the spectrum.
Autism is caused by the MMR
Many will argue with me that this is not a myth. However I do believe it to be just that. You are born with autism, you do not develop it at some stage of your life. You don’t suddenly become autistic. And you don’t become autistic because of a childhood immunisation!
People with Autism are good a math.
Admittedly, little man is excellent at Math, but I do know other children on the autism spectrum who struggle with math and therefore find it their most difficult subject at school.
Children with autism can’t grow up to lead independent adult lives.
Many people on the autism spectrum, especially those on the higher end of the spectrum go on to have fully independent adult lives. This includes having a job, home and family of their own!