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5 Myths About Autism Spectrum Disorder

So much has been written about autism in the popular press, and social media contain so many stories, that it may be hard to separate fact from fiction. If your child has been diagnosed with autism or you suspect your child has autism, you’re searching for answers. Following are five common myths about autism followed by factual information that dispels them. 

Myth: Autism is the result of poor parenting

In the mid-20th century, experts thought autism could be caused by having a cold and distant mother. Hopefully, this myth has largely been dispelled by the plethora of research on the condition. Autism is a neurological and developmental disorder that presents in early childhood and continues throughout life. 

Myth: Children with autism don’t want friends

This myth likely persists because most children with autism lack the appropriate social skills needed to develop friendships. Many autistic children are very lonely and would like to have friends but don’t know how to communicate their interest. 

Autistic children are often anxious in social situations, which may lead them to avoid other children. The avoidance becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy; when your child doesn’t join in group activities with others, he’s left alone.   

At Little Wonders Pediatric Therapy in Charlotte, North Carolina, our expert occupational therapists and our speech therapist work with autistic children every day. They help children on the autism spectrum practice social skills and develop social opportunities to help build friendships. 

Myth: Children with autism don’t feel emotions and can’t understand them in others

Children with autism do feel emotions, but they may not be able to communicate them in the way that other children or adults would understand. Your child may not respond with laughter at something other children find funny, or respond to another child when that child makes a remark. This lack of what’s called joint attention characterizes many young children on the autism spectrum. 

Younger children with autism often spend less time looking at peoples’ faces than children without autism. Recognizing emotions on others’ faces is a cornerstone of bonding with parents and others from infancy onward. Avoiding face-to-face contact puts autistic children at a disadvantage in sharing a reciprocal relationship and displaying emotions. 

Myth: Children with autism are non-verbal or some type of genius/savant 

No two children with autism are alike. Autism is a neurodevelopmental condition that ranges from mild differences in communication and interaction in some children to significant deficits in other children. Up to 40% of children with autism may be non-verbal. 

About 1 in 10 autistic people has a special ability or talent such as playing difficult music on an  instrument from a very young age or being able to calculate difficult mathematical problems quickly without a calculator. Just as in the normal population, most autistic people don’t have that kind of memorable talent. However, autistic children have many positive traits and often have high IQs

Myth: Children with autism won’t be able to go to college or get good jobs 

It’s important for parents of young children on the autism spectrum to know that many people with autism graduate from college and advanced higher education and secure jobs that pay well. Many colleges today offer specific support for students on the autism spectrum. Employers that understand and accept individual differences find employees on the autism spectrum to be dedicated workers.  

If your child has autism or you suspect they may, contact Little Wonders Pediatric Therapy today to schedule an appointment for a private consultation. We’re here to help your child develop to their highest potential.

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