FACTS AND MYTHS
FACTS AND MYTHS ABOUT AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS
Children with autism never make eye contact.
Many children with autism establish eye contact. It may be less than or different from the typical child, but they do look at people, smile, and express many other wonderful non-verbal communications.
Children with autism do not talk.
Many children with autism develop good functional language. Most other children can develop some communication skills, such as sign language, use of pictures, computers, or electronic devices.
Children with autism cannot show affection.
Probably one of the most devastating myths for families is the misconception that children with autism cannot give and receive affection and love. We know that sensory stimulation is processed differently by some children with autism, causing them to have difficulty expressing affection in conventional ways. Giving and receiving love from a child with autism may require a willingness to accept and give love on the child‘s terms. Sometimes the challenge for parents is waiting until the child can risk a greater connection. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends may not understand a child‘s aloofness, but can learn to appreciate and respect his/her capacity for connection with others.
Children and adults with autism spectrum disorders do not care about others.
Children and adults with an ASD often care deeply but lack the ability to spontaneously develop empathic and socially connected typical behavior.
Autism spectrum disorders get worse as children get older.
Autism spectrum disorders are not degenerative. Children and adults with autism should continuously improve. They are most likely to improve with specialized, individualized services and opportunities for supported inclusion. If they are not improving, make changes in service delivery.
People with autism spectrum disorders cannot have successful lives as contributing members of society.
Many people with autism spectrum disorders are being successful, living and working and also contributing to the well-being of others in their communities. This is most likely to happen when appropriate services are delivered during the child’s free, appropriate, public education years.