Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability with symptoms that vary widely from person to person. Many people misunderstand the condition, in fact experts have been working hard to correct the misconceptions around the disability so that we can better understand the challenges faced by people with ASD.
In fact, when you separate the myths from the facts, the truth about ASD will become more clear as shown below:
Autism is a learning disability
This is not true, although it can affect learning. A learning disability is a reduced intellectual ability and difficulty with everyday activities, such as household tasks, socialising or managing money, which in turn affects someone for their whole life. Some autistic people also have a learning disability, but others do not.
Autistic people avoid social contact
Autistic people might socialise in a different way, but it does not mean that it’s wrong, it’s just different. Lots of autistic people want friendships and are very loyal friends.
Individuals with Autism can’t live independently
Many autistic people live independent lives and many more would be able to if they had better support from society. Everyone should be given the opportunity to reach their full potential.
All autistic people are maths geniuses
Every autistic person is different and has different abilities and preferences. Not every autistic person is good at Maths. While some may have excellent number skills, others may be gifted in art, music, science or even sports.
Autism cannot be cured
Autism spectrum disorder has no single known cause and lasts a lifetime, and while there is no cure for autism, evidence has shown that individualised early intervention can make a big difference in the lives of many children. Greater acceptance of autistic people by society would also help to reduce some of the challenges they face.
Many autistic people like routine
A structured routine and environment help provide predictability and reduce anxiety and stress as it can be a way to bring comfort, calm and self-regulation.
Individuals on the AS can show affection
Due to differences in sensory processing and social understanding, the display of affection may appear different. Individuals on the autism spectrum have feelings, show emotion and also have a sense of humour.
Being autistic is part of someone’s identity
Being autistic is a fundamental part of who someone is and should be positively recognised and accepted by others and the self as an integral part of that individual. Accepting disability identity – thereby not changing the person or ‘curing’ them of their disability but validating the individual’s identity, recognising the importance of the individual feeling accepted or appreciated as a person with a disability, is crucial to their wellbeing.