Since April is National Autism Awareness Month, we don’t think there could be a better time to debunk some of the popular myths about autism.
Autism Spectrum Disorder is a term that is used to describe a collection of neurodevelopmental disorders. Lately, it is reported in numbers.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s report in 2014, 1 in every 59 children have been diagnosed with Autism. With so many cases around us, there shouldn’t be any belief in myths as people with Autism are our fellow humans and deserve to be acknowledged correctly.
Today, we have decided to debunk 6 of the most common myths about Autism.
6 Myths about Autism Debunked
Vaccines cause Autism
In 1998 a doctor named Andrew Wakefield along with eleven co-authors published a research paper claiming a link between the MMR vaccine & autism spectrum disorder. However, a Sunday Times investigation led by reporter Brian Deer exposed that the paper was actually a fraud and made it retracted in 2010. Also, Andrew Wakefield was struck off the UK medical register three months later.
Unfortunately, this myth had been so extensively spread that there remains a group of people who still believe that Vaccines cause Autism despite there being no evidence of it.
Autism can be cured with medicines
Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that impairs its patient’s ability to communicate with others for life. Since Autism isn’t as simple as a viral or bacterial disease, it can’t be cured with medicines and that’s a researched scientific fact.
This doesn’t mean that individuals with Autism can’t be made better. Therapy and education have been proved to improve the lives of people with Autism but no such cure for it hasn’t been found yet.
People with Autism aren’t social
Another popular misconception about individuals having Autism is that they can’t be social. The background of this myth stems from the inability of these individuals to communicate with others normally.
However, the inability to interact doesn’t always mean choosing not to be social. Interviews of people with autism have revealed that most of them have an inner desire to socially interact but find it difficult due to the lack of communication skills.
And that’s exactly why we should put in efforts while interacting with such individuals so that they get accepted in society.
People with Autism are intellectually disabled
Individuals affected by Autism can’t understand subtle cues such as winking or facial expressions which leads people to believe that there is an intellectual disability in them.
However, studies have found that many of such people have average or even above average IQ. It is just that they can’t recognize emotions unless directly conveyed.
Did you know that Albert Einstein is believed to have signs of Autism by many researchers?
People with Autism don’t have empathy
Since individuals affected by autism find it extremely difficult to interpret others’ emotions such as happiness or sadness unless conveyed directly, it often sends the wrong message that these individuals might not have these feelings themselves.
However, it must be understood that autism interferes with the ability to communicate rather than lacking emotions or intellectual ability.
Autism has been increasing over the years
Medical studies before 1990 revealed that 2-5 children per every 10,000 had autism while the studies after 2000 stated that 30-60 children in every 10,000 had autism.
What does this look like on the surface?
This statistical change led many of us into believing that somehow autism is prevailing with time. But there hasn’t been any actual evidence to it, and another reason for this increase hinted at by Harvard’s website is the awareness of the condition. The more aware we are, the more diagnosis we get.
Yet another reason for it is that before 1990 the focus was on diagnosing only autism while after 2000 the diagnosing criteria broadened to Asperger’s disorder, pervasive developmental disorder, and other types of autism spectrum disorders as well.