Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) affects 1 in 54 children in the U.S., and yet is still largely misunderstood. A developmental disability, ASD affects how people with the disorder communicate, interact with others, behave, and learn. The symptoms range from mild to more severe, and ASD affects different people differently. Let’s look at some common myths, and clarify some facts about autism spectrum disorder.
Myth: People with ASD don’t feel, express, or understand emotions.
Fact:People with ASD have feelings like everyone else, but they may communicate them differently. When other people communicate their emotions directly, people with ASD usually feel empathy and compassion. Sometimes they may have trouble understanding unspoken interpersonal communication, though, so things like body language, tone of voice, and facial expressions may not be as easy for them to read.
Myth: A person with ASD doesn’t need friends.
Fact:People with ASD may seem like they want to be left alone, or have trouble interacting with peers. This is just because they sometimes struggle with social skills, and not because they are unfriendly.
Myth: Boys and girls are affected equally by autism spectrum disorder.
Fact:According to data collected in 2016, while 1 in 34 boys was identified with ASD, only 1 in 144 girls received the same diagnosis.
Myth: People with ASD are intellectually disabled.
Fact:While about 31 percent of people with ASD have an intellectual disability, and 25 percent are in the borderline range, 44 percent have an IQ over 85. Many people with ASD have exceptional abilities. They can have high IQs and excel in different areas, like math or music.
Myth: ASD only affects children, and while children with ASD may exhibit odd behaviors, they’ll eventually grow out of it.
Fact:Autism spectrum disorder is the result of biological conditions that affect brain development, and children with ASD will still have ASD when they are adults.
Myth: Autism spectrum disorder is caused by poor parenting, emotional neglect, or vaccines.
Fact:There used to be a theory that mothers who weren’t emotionally warm caused autism spectrum disorder, but that’s long been proven inaccurate. And while the assertion that vaccines cause ASD has made the news, research does not support this theory.
Myth: There is no effective treatment for ASD.
Fact:While there’s no cure for this lifelong disorder, there are many therapies and treatments that can help children with ASD. Early intervention is important, which is crucial for parents to be alert to signs of ASD.
If your child has been diagnosed with ASD, The Stepping Stones Group is here to offer support, keeping you informed of opportunities and providing important support services.