Myths about autism and the spectrum

  • Myth: Autism is a disease

Truth: A disease is a condition whose symptoms can be eliminated, whether temporarily or permanently, with the help of medicines. 

Autism is neither just one, nor disease. It is a spectrum that manifests through a whole range of traits. It can also not be eliminated with medicines. 

  • Myth: Vaccines cause autism

Truth: This misconception is propelled by the fact that parents usually start detecting the symptoms of ASD in kids around the same time that they are going through all their first round of vaccinations.  

  • Myth: Autism necessarily causes intellectual disabilities

Truth: Being a spectrum, autism can affect all individuals differently. While some people with autism can have developmental delays, others can show extraordinary talent in certain areas.

  • Myth: Autism can be cured

Truth: There is no proven cure for autism. The symptoms that arise in a person due to the condition can be managed through behavioural interventions and other external stimuli. 

  • Myth: There are universal therapies and interventions suitable for all people with autism

Truth: Since every person with autism has varied forms and intensity of similar traits, they all benefit from different interventional therapies.

  • Myth: Autism is caused by bad parenting

Truth: As many kids with autism have behavioural issues, many people think it is just an “excuse” used by lazy or bad parenting. However, it has been proven that there is a neurological and genetic basis of the disease. 

  • Myth: All children with autism are violent or badly behaved

Truth: Certain triggers including sensory overload or overpowering emotions are usually responsible for some children with autism to display behaviour that is a coping mechanism, and often out of their control. Eliminating triggers, behavioural therapy and interventions like sensory toys can help in cutting down the frequency of such instances. 

  • Myth: People with autism can’t understand emotions or form social bonds

Truth: Autistic people are capable of forming all kinds of relationships and live full lives. However, they tend to miss out on social cues and don’t always have the ability to convey their feelings. 

  • Myth: Autistic people can’t acquire soft skills

Truth: A huge part of behavioural therapy is to help children with autism improve their social and communication skills. 

  • Myth: Prevalence of autism is increasing 

Truth: While the condition was identified and labeled in 1943, several characters in classical texts have shown behavioural tendencies analogous to people on the autism spectrum disorder. The ever-evolving technological tools of diagnosis and a better understanding of the condition has also helped in increased prevalence.

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