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Debunking Myths and Misconceptions About Autism

Posted on January 5, 2019 by All In

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The lack of understanding about autism can make it difficult for people on the autism spectrum to access the support they need. In this article, we hope to shed light by debunking the common myths and health-related misconceptions on this condition.


Common Myths

Myth: People with autism avoid socialisation and interaction with others.


While some people with autism may find it difficult to interpret and respond to social cues, making it more difficult to socialise, many are keen to make friends and interact with others. 


Myth: People with autism are unable to lead independent and successful lives.


With the appropriate education and support system, many people with autism can lead independent and successful lives.

 In fact, many people with autism have exerted great influence in the world, including Temple Grandin, a professor of animal sciences and advocate of the autism community, and Susan Boyle, who delivered one of the most iconic performances in Britain’s Got Talent. 


Myth: All people with autism have special talents or ‘savant’ skills.


While one large-scale study estimates that one in 10 people with autism may have special abilities (commonly in music, art, memory, calculations), other studies provide different estimates. More commonly, people with autism have ‘splinter skills’ -“the ability to do a specific task that does not generalise to other tasks”, such as being able to memorise license plate numbers.


Myth: People with autism do not make eye contact.


Eye contact can be a source of distraction, distress and/or anxiety for many people with autism – while some people with autism may be able to maintain (some) eye contact, never force eye contact with a person with autism.


Myth: People with autism cannot talk.


Communication differs from individual to individual. Some people with autism may be able to communicate well, some may need help to communicate appropriately while others may be nonverbal, or prefer to communicate in other nonverbal ways. 


Myth: People with autism do not have feelings and are thus, unable to show affection.

People with autism can and do show affection. Sometimes, they may do so in ways that differ from typical signs of affection and care due to differences in sensory processing and social interaction. Understanding these differences is key.


Myth: Autism is a result of bad parenting.


The causes of autism are still uncertain, but most research suggests that autism is caused by abnormalities in the development of the brain.


Myth: Autism can be cured.


There has yet to be a cure for autism, but the the symptoms may be lessened through early intervention, education, vocational platforms and treatments that cater to the needs of people with autism.


Myth: Autism can be outgrown.


Children with autism do not outgrow their autism, but their symptoms may be lessened over time through early intervention, education, vocational platforms and treatments.


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Health-Related Myths


We laid out this infographic to debunk some health-related myths about autism:


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