Top 10 Misconceptions About Individuals with Autism
Top 10 misconceptions about individuals with autism:
1. All people with autism have lower mental capacities.
Individuals with autism are just that, individuals. Some individuals do experienced diminished mental capacity, yet at the same time some are geniuses. However, with most individuals it is hard to assess their mental ability as their communication skills are what autism affects the most. Imagine having the mental capacity of a genius but being given an exam in a language you do not understand: your test results would not accurately display your mental capacity. Thus, estimating and assessing individuals with autism’s mental capacity/ability is extremely difficult if not impossible.
2. Only children have autism.
The onset of autism occurs during childhood; however this does not mean adults do not have it too. There is no known adult onset of autism so the adults who have it grew up with autism. Many are capable of functioning at a social level where their autism goes almost unnoticed. However, as one adult with autism (who asked to remain anonymous) said, “I have autism. It affects my every day – I’ve simply learned how to “appear” normal.”
3. All people with autism can’t speak.
It is true that some individuals with autism lack the current ability to speak but many develop the ability to speak, even if minimally, with the aid of therapy and quality care.
4. All people with autism are hidden geniuses.
This is the antithesis of point number 1. Some people with autism do have extremely high IQ’s and are classified as savant geniuses. However, they are mostly the exception rather than the rule. Most often individuals with autism have normal mental capacities.
5. All people with autism can’t learn.
Everyone can learn. However, not everyone learns at the same pace. It might take years of teaching before and individual with autism acquires a certain skill or piece of knowledge, but they can learn it. Also, individuals with autism all learn at different paces.
6. People with autism simply need discipline.
Some people think individuals with autism are simply out of control, undisciplined and unruly. This is not the case. The idea that someone is unruly or undisciplined is based on perception of what is a “normal” social behavior. People with autism have a “social-behavioral disorder” and have extreme difficulty learning social norms and take longer to learn “correct” social behaviors than a neuro-typical individual.
7. People with autism are violent.
It is true some individuals with autism have violent tendencies. If someone with autism has violent tendencies it is usually due to an inability to communicate. Imagine having the most excruciating stomach pains ever, but not being able to tell anyone about it, verbally or otherwise. You too might lash out and hit someone trying to make them understand. As well, if left aggressive long enough, as with anyone, it can become a learned behavior and become their natural reaction to negative stimuli.
8. Autism will never be grown out of.
Currently we don’t have a cure for autism, but individuals with autism can learn social behaviors and eventually be able to function in society without any outside perception of their condition. They, however, may have to overcome massive obstacles on a day to day basis.
9. People with autism never make eye contact.
While this is the case with some individuals most learn to eventually to make eye contact.
10. All people with autism display the same symptoms.
Autism is a spectrum disorder. This means that an individual with autism can display some of many symptoms and to varying degrees.