Autism, also known as Autism Spectrum Disorder is a condition that identifies the different social and communication skills an individual will have troubles understanding. It becomes challenging to them.
The CDC states that every 1 in 68 children is diagnosed with this disorder in the U.S.
From an outsider's perspective, autism is a subject that can be misinterpreted in many ways. The media, government, and all sources have had thoughts on how one is diagnosed or if it is even a disorder. This has caused people to come up with different myths and misconceptions about the topic.
Over the course of college, I have been exposed to different scenarios that have made me understand the root of these different misconceptions.
Vaccines cause your child to have autism
According to the CDC, (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), there is no direct correlation between getting your child vaccinated and your child being diagnosed with autism. This myth is derived from an ingredient in vaccines called thimerosal. Which happens to have mercury in it, which people assumed to cause the disability. In 2004, the IOM found that there was no correlation between vaccines that had thimerosal and children being diagnosed with autism.
Autism is considered as one condition
Autism is better known as Autism Spectrum Disorder. Which means autism varies on the spectrum, as there is low functioning autism and there is high functioning. Low functioning is when a child has a hard time completing different day to day activities. Such as brushing your teeth, eating on your own, etc. High functioning autism results in being used to order and schedules. I experienced in the camp I was a counselor for that the kids enjoyed having a visual schedule. I learned that having everything written out and showing what was coming up next was something that was essential to get through the day.
Individuals with autism can’t function on their own
Depending where on the spectrum the individual may be, the functions will vary. This ties back to determining whether they are high functioning or low functioning. There are several programs implemented that assists children and adults with ASD to get them through school or find a job. This doesn't mean that they are unable to function on their own. They are just given the resources needed so they can have the same opportunities that typically developed individuals do.
Individuals that have autism are disabled intellectually
In fact, children and adults with autism have either normal or high IQ's. When working with kids with autism I noticed that these individuals have a specific spark of interest to a particular subject. Such as science, trains, specific bugs, etc. If you were to ask them about their favored topic they can tell you almost anything and everything about it. They are the brightest kids I have ever met. They make you see different aspects of life and how they see it through their eyes and it can give you a different outlook on life as a whole.
Emotions aren’t understood at all by someone with autism
It is easy for people to assume that individuals with autism experience emotions differently than a typically developed individual. In fact, emotions are just expressed differently with individuals. Communication is different, therefore the emotions will be projected differently as well. Autism does also cause the inability to underestimate the different emotions others are experiencing or expressing when interacting with an individual with ASD.
Explore Odyssey's featured Autism Awareness content here.