It’s Halloween weekend, and we can’t stop thinking about all the creepy, crawly things that haunt us. In the autism community, there are certain things that haunt us year-round – the myths and misconceptions of autism.
We thought about all the challenges children and families who are impacted by autism face on a daily basis and the importance of having a good understanding of autism in order to help every individual achieve their greatest potential and a better life quality. We reached out to the autism community on Instagram to ask them what the most common myths they heard about autism were, and here’s what they had to say.
When it comes to individuals with autism, behavior is as broad as it gets. Expectations, root causes, and learned behaviors are all just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the myths that haunt parents and families. Here’s what a few people shared with us:
- “They are all aggressive.” – @itsjustme84
- “He/she is having a meltdown because they’re spoiled. *rolls eyes*” – @mistah_neely
- “And my favorite, ‘Don’t let him act that way’, like i can stop him from flapping or lining up all his toy cars, or rocking himself when he’s overstimulated or covering his ears and running in circles when things are to loud.” – @damaliageistlinger:
More often than not, individuals with autism are portrayed as being cold, unaffectionate, and distant. But, as just any other topic included in this list, social skills vary from person to person.
- “He can’t be autistic, he makes eye contact.” – irish_baibee13
- “That they are not affectionate or empathetic. My son is the most loving child I know – IF he likes you. And he get upset and worried if he sees another child crying or upset. We were recently in a restaurant and a little girl at the table next to us was crying and he could barely eat because he kept looking over to see if she was ok; even though she had stopped crying much earlier.” – @musclemommydkg
- “You’ll never have friends.” – @mcfaddenkerri
- “He seems to be happy by himself, he doesn’t need social relationships.” – @carro_starro
Even though, 31% of individuals with autism meet the diagnostic criteria for intellectual disabilities and 46% have average to above average IQ, people still have the wrong idea that they all fit into one exact mold. They believe that they all must be high or low functioning with no in-between, here is what they had to say:
- “I don’t like when people tell me I’m too smart to be autistic. That upsets me big time. That’s basically saying all people with autism is dumb, and that’s not true. Then a staff who worked with me said that I’m completely fine., just because I was higher functioning than two other kids in the programe. Yeah I’m high functioning but I still have challenges that I have to get through.” – @purple_bubble_love:
- “He’s too smart to be autistic.” – nicholegianni
The cause of autism is still unknown despite extensive research practices, but people are still making assumptions of its causes, here are the most common answers:
- “I just heard from a patient that if you don’t take prenatal vitamins your child will be autistic!” – @lovemypinklife
- “It’s vaccines.” – @autumns_road_2_discovery
People still believe that only boys can be diagnosed with autism, here were the most common responses regarding gender expectations for individuals with autism.
- “It’s only boys who can be Austic girls cant drives me crazy” – @Kirstyxdeex
- “He doesnt look autistic. Well if he didnt play on that tablet all day, im sure he will be fine… you know… teach him some things…he is just a boy.. they develop slower.. he is fine” – @charmaine_silva
And the SCARIEST myth that was submitted was the following:
- “Everyone with autism is special needed and needs to be in an asylum” – @fxck_jessy151
We’re shocked every day at these myths that haunt the autism community throughout the year. Advocacy