PsychPerspectives. Below are 10 common myths about Autism Spectrum Conditions.
To clarify definitions, Autism Spectrum Condition is an umbrella term for:
- Autism (below 70 IQ, non-verbal or verbal.
- Asperger’s syndrome (average or above average IQ)
- High-Functioning Autism (basically Asperger’s, but with a delay in language development; unable to talk until approximately 5 years old)
The 10 Common Myths:
- People with autism don’t have empathy
- People with autism don’t have theory of mind (ability to understand others think different to you…and “putting yourself in others shoes”)
Lots of research suggests people with autism don’t have theory of mind. This is true for some, but definitely not for most.
- Autism is caused by bad parenting
Autism has nothing to do with upbringing. Autism is a developmental condition that has to be present from birth
- The MMR vaccine causes Autism
A research paper suggested the MMR vaccine causes Autism. This paper has been retracted as it’s results were completely false. Get the vaccine.
- Autism is a mental health condition
Autism is not a mental health condition, although the chances of experiencing depression and anxiety are significantly higher when you have autism. Much co-morbidity.
- People with autism cannot make eye contact
Some can’t, some can. Some don’t like it, but come up with strategies to avoid it e.g. look at others eyebrows instead.
- People with autism don’t show any emotions
- People with autism cannot form friendships or intimate relationships
I’ve met a married couple who both had autism. They were very happy.
- People with autism are dangerous
Far from it. “Neurotypical” people are more dangerous to people with autism than they are to Neurotypical people. Sadly, those with autism are often victims of severe bullying.
- All people with autism have savant, genius-like abilities
Some do, some don’t. Just like anyone else in this world.
Have any myths to add? Please do in the comments 🙂