Sunday, December 30, 2012

Debunking 7 Common Myths About Autism

Autism spectrum disorders are surrounded by a haze of misconceptions, many of which are harmful for autistic children and adults. It’s time to straighten a few things out, and to spread the word on this complex series of cognitive and intellectual disabilities with a little good old-fashioned debunking.

1. Autistic people have no empathy. This is a common belief about autism; people think that because autistics are sometimes blunt or have difficulty navigating social norms, they aren’t empathetic. In fact, just the opposite seems to be true. Rather than not feeling enough, many autistics feel very intensely, and are easily overwhelmed by the emotions of those around them.

2. Autistic people can’t communicate. Autism spectrum disorders take a variety of forms, and some people with autism are nonverbal, but that doesn’t mean they can’t communicate. Some use communication boards and other methods to communicate with the people around them, but it requires patience to establish and maintain communication with them. Historically, people with more severe forms of autism were often isolated in institutions, but more modern treatment of autism encourages the use of therapy and other techniques to interact with patients and find a communication mode they feel comfortable with.

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