Autism: myths and facts

Autism: myths and facts

Myth: Autism is a mental illness.

Fact: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or Autism is an umbrella term for a group of developmental disorders that are neurological in origin and cause social, communication and behavioural challenges. Autism is not a mental illness.

Myth: Only boys are affected with autism.

Fact: Autism is seen both in girls and boys, however, studies show that boys have a higher diagnosis of autism.

Myth: There is no treatment for autism.

Fact: While autism cannot be cured, there are many treatment options that can help children cope with autism. The most effective treatment is an intensive, individualized intervention that includes behavioural, social and psychological components. Most of the children who receive appropriate intervention grow on to become fairly independent adults and lead a normal life. It is important to note that children with autism have a range of abiltiities that can be used to their advantage.

Myth: Children with autism will never learn to speak.

Fact: Children with autism can speak but they may have problems because of delayed langauge development. With effective early intervention, it is possible for them to develop their verbal skills.

Myth: Symptoms of autism are similar in all children.

Fact: Autism is known as a spectrum disorder because its symptoms and characteristics appear in a variety of combinations that affect different people in different ways. The challenges faced by children with autism are unique.

Myth: Autism is caused by poor parenting.

Fact: In the mid 1950s there was a misconception that autism is caused by cold and detached parenting. Although the exact causes of autism have not been determined till date, it has now been clearly established that autism is not caused by flaws in parenting.

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