Parenting Corner-Autism Myths
Autism or Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder that can result in mild to severe social, communication and behavioral challenges. There is a lot written and said about ASD and that also includes some myths. Today we will talk about some common myths associated with people with autism.
• Myth: People with autism don’t want to make friends.
This is not true at all, despite facing challenges in interaction and communication, people with autism like to have friends. They may seem shy, aloof or not interested in company, but they do like it when they have some friends around them.
• Myth: People with autism can’t feel or express any emotion.
People with autism may not have the soft skills to express how they feel like others, but they do have mood swings, anger, frustrations, happy moods like everyone else. They may express their feelings differently and not in the typical manner.
• Myth: People with autism do not understand emotions of others.
People with autism may not get verbal or visual cues but when informed directly, they can understand and respond to emotions.
Gayathri Sridhar, a parent says that children with autism can learn life skills if taught with patience and proper techniques. It is a myth that people with autism cannot live independent lives as they grow up.
Children with autism can learn life skills at their own pace. They can be taught and trained for one skill/action at a time and then should be carried on like a forward chain, starting with practically as a routine with prompts as a supervised task and to independent task. Targeting on a single skill for a month to make them do it independent, helps ultimately.- Gayathri Sridhar, a parent
• People with autism are intellectually disabled.
People with autism are not intellectually disabled and may have various talents and abilities like others. The severity of their condition varies and no two people autism are alike.
• Autism only affects children
Children with autism grow up to be adults with autism. They can learn coping strategies and skills and may lead lives like others.
“It is beyond myth that autism Spectrum is just neurological disorder and there is pressing need to put concentrated efforts towards detailed study on relationship among gut microbiome and Vagus nerves, eccentric nervous system pathways, Central Nervous System and function of sensory organs.”Pritam Sinha, parent from Bengaluru
• Myth: People with autism are either non-verbal or a savant.
Every person with autism is unique with varying abilities, limitations, challenges, interests, likes and dislikes. Around 30% people with ASD are nonverbal while others speak at varying levels. Not all people with autism are savants or with high functioning autism.
• Myth: People with autism cannot form relationships.
People with autism may have successful and long lasting relationships in life. They may face challenges in following social cues but they can try and learn about their social environment and fit into as much as they can.
• Myth: Vaccines cause autism.
There is quite a lot said and written about this topic however, there is lack of evidence to support a link between vaccines and ASD.
• Myth: People with autism can only do repetitive jobs.
There is no fixed job type for people with autism. They have different strengths, skills and interests although the society is yet to find a way to properly accommodate people with autism. With proper guidance, opportunities and open minded approach, people with autism can be hired based on their strengths and abilities and not disability.