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Thursday, April 7, 2011

10 Common Autism Myths

I actually wrote this last year for autism awareness month, but I still like it, and it still makes sense. I decidd to go ahead and share it here, I hope you likey. :)

Autism is becoming more and more prevalent, and there is still a ton of misinformation surrounding it. I would like to use this as an opportunity to bring these to the forefront and discuss them. Some of them are simple misunderstandings, while some of them are stereotypes that can be very hurtful. Please take a moment to read this. Maybe you'll learn something that you didn't already know.

Myth #1- Eye contact is impossible for someone with autism.

Some people with autism find making eye contact with others difficult, but others have no problem whatsoever.

Myth #2- People with autism can't show affection.

My son is the biggest snuggle bug ever! Being able to snuggle up has never been a problem for him. For some, it is, but not all.

Myth #3- If a child is progressing, he never had autism.

This is not true. It takes work and patience, but progress is possible!

Myth #4- People with autism cannot communicate.

If someone with autism is nonverbal, they have other ways of communicating. Sign language, pictures, computers, etc. are all forms of communication. Just because a person can't talk, it doesn't mean they can't communicate.

Myth #5- Autism is the result of bad or neglectful parenting.

The "refrigerator mother" myth has been around for some time, and I'm actually surprised it still exists. Almost every parent of a child with autism I've met is very kind, loving, and incredibly patient. They also spend much of their time feeling needlessly guilty about their child's autism, so this myth is less than helpful.

Myth #6- If you have autism, you can repeat the whole phone book or tell you what day of the week April 23 is in 4 years.

While most children with autism are very smart, an autistic savant is rare. We can all thank the movie Rainman for this little myth. So in the future, please do not ask a mom to get her kid to perform parlor tricks for you.

Myth #7- Children with autism do not want friends.

All children want friends. Some can show this is a better way than others, but I think all children want a friend. Alot of kids with autism just can't figure out how to go about it.

Myth #8- Kids with autism don't get their feelings hurt.

If you've ever seen my son's face after a kid has refused to play with him, you'd know this is not true. They may not get mad and yell at someone, or sit down and cry over it, but it's just as easy to hurt a child with autism's feelings as any other. Please remind your children to be kind.

Myth #9- Better discipline would get their acts together.

Boy, do I love that one! I've been told on many occasions that all I need to do is spank him. Another good one, "Let me keep him for a few days, I'll fix him". You can't spank or yell autism away any easier than you can spank cancer away.

Myth # 10- If a person with autism cant communicate, he can't understand you either.

If someone tapes your mouth closed, do your ears plug up as well? Comprehension skills and expressive skills can develop at different speeds and often do with autism. Just because a child can not say I love you does not mean he doesn't hear you when you tell him you love him.

These were just a few that I've heard or been told, but I'm sure there are more out there. I hope this helps anyone that thought any of these myths were truth.


Pams Party said...

Hi.. I found you on blogging moms! This is a great list.. Having a son with Aspergers, we have come across a lot of misconception over the years. The more we get the word out, hopefully the more people will understand.

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