It’s easy to make assumptions. We all do at some point, right? Well when it comes to autism it’s no different. There are many myths out there when it comes to autism and today we are going to debunk five of the most common myths I’ve heard as an SLP.
MYTH: Autism is Caused by Vaccines
TRUTH: I’m sure you’ve heard this one before. It all started in 1998 when a case series was published stating that the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine caused autism. It turns out, this study was complete scientific fraud, meaning there is no connection between the MMR vaccine and autism. Even though this has been proven incorrect, people still believe it to be true. The truth is, there is no known cause for autism. Researchers can say that abnormalities in brain structure and function are related to autism, leading them to believe genetics to be a major factor.
MYTH: Only Boys Can Be Diagnosed With Autism
TRUTH: Autism is more prevalent in boys (four times as likely in fact), but girls can also be diagnosed with autism. Researchers suggest that girls don’t fit the stereotypes leaving them to be undiagnosed or diagnosed later on. Girls with undiagnosed autism may experience anxiety or depression, leaving clinicians to believe anxiety/depression is the culprit, not autism. If your daughter is showing signs of autism, take this free screener and talk to your pediatrician about what you see. YOU are your child’s best advocate.
MYTH: People With Autism Can’t Speak
TRUTH: It is true that people with autism do have trouble with language and social communication. Some children with autism are nonverbal (meaning, not verbally communicating), however, since it is a spectrum, there are many children that are able to develop language skills to communicate with others and express their wants and needs just like you and I.
MYTH: People With Autism Don’t Want Friends
TRUTH: Social communication can be difficult for people with autism but that doesn’t always mean that they don’t want friends. We learn language in a very organic way, by being exposed and immersed in it from birth. the same is true for social rules. For people with autism it can be like learning a second language (check out this book, Uniquely Human).
The truth is, we’d love to be with other people. But because things never, ever go right, we end up getting used to being alone, without even noticing this is happening. Whenever I overhear someone remark how much I prefer being on my own, it makes me desperately lonely. It’s as if they’re deliberately giving me the cold-shoulder treatment.The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism
MYTH: Autism Can Be Cured
TRUTH: There is no cure available for Autism. It isn’t something that will just go away. But there are many treatments available to help your child develop and grow to the best of their abilities. Speech-Language Pathologists, like myself, are here to help. There are so many treatments available to you. For a full list, click here.
I hope you learned something new today! Next week you’ll get a glimpse into autism across the lifespan. I’d love to hear your thoughts below, or send a message straight to my inbox!