Understanding Health and Behavioral Challenges
Myth #1: Vaccines cause autism spectrum disorder.
Fact: There’s no evidence that vaccines cause autism. The American Academy of Pediatrics has gathered multiple studies that show no link between vaccinations and autism. While the exact cause of autism is not yet known, specific genes and environmental factors are believed to increase risk.
Myth #2: People with the autism spectrum disorder don’t feel empathy.
Fact: This is incorrect. Individuals with ASD often deeply care about others’ feelings. However, they may struggle to understand these feelings due to difficulties in interpreting facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice.
Myth #3: People with autism spectrum disorder want to be alone.
Fact: While individuals with ASD may find social interactions challenging due to difficulties in understanding social cues, it doesn’t mean they want to be alone. In many cases, they avoid social situations only because they feel socially awkward and wish to better understand how to engage with others.
Myth #4: People with the autism spectrum disorder are violent.
Fact: Some children with ASD may act out when they find it difficult to express their needs or feelings. While these behaviors can be concerning, it’s important to note that these children are generally more likely to engage in self-harm than to harm others. For instance, under high levels of stress, they may resort to actions such as skin-picking or head-banging rather than hurting someone else.
Myth #5: All people with autism spectrum disorder are gifted.
Fact: In movies and TV shows, you often see characters with ASD who display some sort of extraordinary skill, like being a musical prodigy or a human calculator. These abilities are called ‘savant skills.’ However, in real life, only about 10% of people with autism possess these kinds of special skills.
Myth #6: People with autism spectrum disorder are intellectually impaired.
Fact: Roughly 31% of children with ASD have an intellectual disability, often defined as an IQ score of 70 or below. However, difficulty in speaking or communicating should not be mistaken for a lack of intelligence. Like all children, those with autism have their own strengths and weaknesses.
Myth #7: Autism spectrum disorder can be cured.
Fact: Current treatments for autism focus on minimizing symptoms that impede daily functioning and quality of life. These treatments are customized to meet the specific needs of each individual and often involve a team of multidisciplinary professionals. The treatments can be administered in a range of settings, including schools, healthcare institutions, or even at home. Effective communication among all parties involved is essential for the success of the treatment plan.