Autism Pride: 5 Common Myths about Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
While there are certainly still misunderstandings about autism that continue to permeate throughout society, the Autism Society of America (ASA) has recently made an effort to move beyond the “awareness” aspect of their actions.
With one in 54 Americans living with autism in our country, the ASA has shifted their messaging to address what they see as “the growing need for acceptance” throughout the US. That’s why every April, previously known as “Autism Awareness Month,” was this year rebranded to “Autism Acceptance Month.”
This change seems to align more closely with another important day for autism in our country. Celebrated every June 18th since 2005, Autistic Pride Day provides an additional opportunity to raise awareness about autism spectrum disorder and encourage communities to view autistic people as unique (not disadvantaged) individuals.
Having worked with many children with autism spectrum disorder through the years, our team at Rainbow Pediatrics has come to appreciate the uniqueness of every one of these young individuals.
As such, we would like to take this opportunity to help educate those who haven’t spent a lot of time with children who have autism. Specifically, we would like to address some of the more common misconceptions about the condition.
By helping rid the world of some of these myths, we hope to encourage people to appreciate and embrace all our differences, as well as our similarities.
What Are Common Myths About Autism?
Myth 1: Autism is a relatively new condition.
While our current generations are much more willing to talk about and promote autism awareness, the condition was first scientifically documented in 1943. The earliest written descriptions of kids with autism predate this by nearly 150 years (1799).
Myth 2: You can’t touch someone with autism.
Yes, some children and even adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) – just like many without, actually – don’t like to be touched, often because they have high sensory sensitivities. But, many others appreciate and enjoy human contact like hugs, massage, and so on.
Myth 3: People with autism are not social and don’t want friends.
Again, just like the general population, some people with autism are simply more social than others. Often, people mistake the lack of understanding of how to socialize or the anxiety that comes on during social situations as an unwillingness to make friends. And too often, people (kids especially, but also adults) simply don’t know how to approach someone with visual “ticks” or mannerisms associated with autism, leading to fewer social opportunities.
Myth 4: People with autism can’t feel emotion or love.
Not true. Just ask someone with an autistic child or a person who regularly works with people on the spectrum, and they will likely tell you this is the most hurtful myth. The fact is, people with ASD simply express themselves, their feelings, and their emotions in ways that seem less obvious to others.
Myth 5: All people with autism spectrum disorder are savants.
Yes, those with ASD who have special and perhaps unusual abilities make great stories in movies, books, and TV. But, this involves only about 10 percent of people with autism. The rest are like the majority of the rest of us, simply doing their best to make sense of the world and their place in it.
Working with Kids Who Have ASD
One unfortunate fact about kids with ASD is that there are a few conditions they’re more at risk of developing and experiencing than those without autism. This includes seizure disorders, sleep disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, headaches, asthma, food allergies, and eczema.
If your child is dealing with one or more of these issues and you’re looking for a physician to help guide them (and you) through the challenges of testing, managing, and treating these issues, contact our team at Rainbow Pediatrics to schedule an appointment.
We will certainly take pride in serving you!