Tag Archives: Cure

The Big Fat Autism Myths

10 Oct

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!

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#HAWMC Day 20 – A cure for ignorance

24 Apr

The 20th #HAWMC prompt was to come up with a cure for your health focus. The only thing was, I didn’t need a cure for my health focus! Yes, there is plenty of things I wish that I could make that bit easier for my son who has Aspergers Syndrome but I wouldn’t go as far as stating he needs to be cured!

With the above in mind I wondered what I’d write about instead, then it came to me… How about a cure for other peoples ignorance?

The majority of our society remains misunderstood when it comes to the autism spectrum. I hate listening to the remarks of others when speaking about something they lack a great degree of knowledge in. OK, ignorance isn’t always the fault of an individual, some just haven’t been exposed to autism, therefore not having any reason to discover and learn about it! Others are simply misinformed via the media or other sources.

Then we encounter them cases of wilful delusion, people who understand more than they care to admit but simply ignore it. Those that refuse to change a certain view or way of behaving regardless of how well educated they are on the subject. It’s my opinion that this kind of ignorance is often found within schools, you’ll find teachers that agree with the difficulties you state your child is experiencing yet fall to note the concerns or apply for extra funding so state there is no problems within school. From personal experience and through discussions with other parents of children on the spectrum, It would seem that many school who have a child on school action plus have failed to fully use its resources despite having received the funding so when it comes to you asking for a statement a school will sometimes discourage a parent from doing so advising them to leave it a few months and stating that there are one or two things they can offer in the meantime.

This is why many autism activist campaign for it to be made a requirement that all schools train and educate its staff in all of SEN and that of the autism spectrum.

You see, some people will claim ignorance to be immoral but how can one understand something if they haven’t been educated on? The fact that one person feels they have the right to judge another with little evidence to base their conclusion upon is that of ignorance in itself… after all evidence can only be formed if those collecting it look for it and therefore learn more about it!

I’m guessing almost if not all parents of a child with autism or aspergers syndrome have been on the receiving end of ignorance at some stage of their child’s life. The parent of the child who really struggles with everyday experiences such as shopping will know all to well what its like to be stared at and judged just by looking at their fellow shoppers! Yes, it get does get easier with time, sometimes I fail to even notice those stood around staring, the whispers or continuous head shaking motion and tutting sounds many make and though you know its there, some days you’re just to tired to care!

Nonetheless, Regardless of how accustomed to it one may become this is somewhat besides the point! People need educating but sadly you will always find not every ones willing to step forward and learn! Of course we can’t make people think before they judge, only they can do that. Plus we all do it in some form or another whether it’s in relation to autism, mental health or something else altogether. However, it will eventually still grind you down, OK, not everyday, but those that do are enough to drive you into a state of depression, insanity or both!

Parents of children who have only just received a diagnosis or even those of undiagnosed children can find ignorance much more difficult to contend with (I know I did back in the earlier days). What’s more ignorance can also be an extremely upsetting experience for the child on the spectrum, especially those considered more high functioning. Again I feel many assume that because it’s documented that children on the autism spectrum are in their own little world they therefore often disregard the child’s feelings simply thinking they lack the intelligence needed to understand.

Well its a fact, no one wants to be judged, especially when it relates to the way they bring up their children. The child with autism is often labelled a menace to society, the child heading for an ASBO by its 5th birthday… no one wants their child to be thought of in such a way! It’s this part that most parents find the toughest overall.

Of course we as parents can’t spend forever worrying what others do or do not think of us and I for one don’t seek the approval of society on how I parent. I don’t need to be told whether I’m doing an efficient job or not, I don’t seek any ones approval apart from that of my own. It’s took me a long time to be able to actually feel this way, yet there will still be those days I slip and break at a strangers glare or ignorant comment whether it’s in a week, a month or even a year.

So here’s my final thoughts to wrap this post up! Ignorance is actually a state of unawareness which can in fact be cured with a little bit of educating! Those that receive that education but chose to ignore it don’t only become intentionally ignorant but are also filled with a degree of stupidity. Bottom line… We don’t need to find a cure for ignorance because there is already one available in that of education! What we do need is a cure for stupidity to finally fix the problem!

Image credit to the fabulous Chato B Stewart who blogs at PsychCentral.com an activist for mental health who uses a bit of healthy humour within his work

Post 20/30 in  the Wego Health #HAWMC 

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