10 Autism Myths. 

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  This paper has been retracted as it’s results  were completely false.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 

They do!

  • 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 🙂 


8 thoughts on “10 Autism Myths. ”

  1. Thank you for posting about this! 🙂 My older brother has autism (as well as epilepsy and OCD). He’s non-verbal and a big guy which can be intimidating to some people but he is the gentle giant in the family and has never once lashed out to strike anyone. He’s very sensitive and can have a lot of emotion and empathy for others. Especially anyone else who is non-verbal. He used to watch The Little Mermaid over and over and over again when we were younger.
    A lot of people make major misconceptions about him and other people with autism, which can be so hurtful. Luckily for my brother he was able to go to a fantastic school that was inclusive to all kinds of students. I went to the local schools however and I saw many kids talk badly about people with any sort of disability. It’s really disheartening, which is why I can really appreciate a post like this one you did to help inform people. 🙂

  2. I was diagnosed with autistic savant syndrome when I ended up in local services because the police called them in , the police did this because I was targeted by a sex gang and suffered horrific sexual abuse for many years , it seems to be a feather in the proverbial cap for abusers to pick up on savants , this is absolute truth and disgusting too as it goes unnoticed by the general populace. I got my diagnosis late in life and I found myself , it was so liberating to realise why I am like I am , I understand my self in ways I couldn’t possibly imagine …. wow factor . I agree with your dispelling ten myths and will follow your posts most avidly , thank you


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