5 autism myths busted
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is estimated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to affect one in 59 children in the U.S. Although it’s fairly common, there are many misconceptions surrounding this condition.
Dr. Valeria Nanclares, manager of the Autism Treatment Program at the Pediatric Developmental Center at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago, is ready to set the record straight.
Here are five of the most common myths about autism explained:
Myth: Individuals with autism do not make eye contact.
Truth: “All individuals with autism have moments of eye contact and, in some cases, many moments of eye contact. What seems to be most affected is actually how they use the eye contact. Can they use it to regulate the interaction? Often, the answer is no. So it is more a matter of quality rather than quantity.”
Myth: Most individuals on the spectrum also have intellectual disability.
Truth: “We have learned over time that most individuals (about 70 percent) have at least average intellectual functioning. It is our standardized measures that fail to capture their potential!”
Myth: People on the autism spectrum want to be alone.
Truth: “Oftentimes, they don’t have the skills necessary to understand how to interact successfully and, therefore, interactions don’t go well. This often causes distress or anxiety, so they may retreat in order to avoid discomfort, but not because they really want to be alone.”
Myth: Kids with autism are not affectionate.
Truth: “Most are very affectionate, in particular with individuals they know or are comfortable with, such as parents. They might show affection in different ways.”
Myth: All kids with autism have behavior problems.
Truth: “Not all children develop behavioral challenges. When an individual on the spectrum does not have adequate ways of communicating or understanding their environment, behavioral challenges are more likely to occur. Appropriate intervention will make a huge difference!”
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