Since April is Global Autism Awareness Month, there couldn’t be a better time to debunk some popular myths about autism.
Autism Spectrum Disorder is a collection of neurodevelopmental disorders.
According to the 2014 Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s report, 1 in every 59 children have been diagnosed as Autistic. With so many cases around us, there shouldn’t be any belief in myths. Autistic people 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 the disorder
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, Brian Deer exposed this fraudulent paper. He did this in his Sunday Times article. The paper was retracted in 2010. Also, UK medical register removed Andrew Wakefield three months later.
Unfortunately, this myth had been so extensively spread that there are people who still believe that vaccines cause Autism. Despite there being no evidence of it.
Medicines can cure the disorder
Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that impairs its patient’s ability to communicate with others for life. Since the disorder isn’t as simple as a viral disease, it can’t be cured with medicines. That’s a researched scientific fact.
This doesn’t mean that Autistic individuals can’t get better. Research has shown that therapy and education can help an Autistic person tremendously. However, there has been no discovery for a cure as yet.
People with the disorder aren’t social
Another popular misconception about Autistic individuals is that they can’t be social. The difficulty these individuals have to communicate normally has derived this myth.
However, the inability to interact doesn’t always mean choosing not to be social. Interviews of people with the disorder have revealed that most of them have an inner desire to socially interact but find it difficult due to the lack of communication skills.
This is why we should learn how to interact with these individuals. This will help them become part of society.
Read More – In Conversation With: Ammad Siddiqi, Autism Self-Advocate
Autistic people are intellectually disabled
Autistic individuals 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 many researchers believed that Albert Einstein had signs of Autism?
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, the disorder interferes with the ability to communicate instead of the inability to have emotions or intellect.
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 the disorder is prevailing with time. But there hasn’t been any actual evidence of it. 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.