Ref: CHB/HB/033/15                                                                                 

AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER – PART 4

The last article in the Autism Spectrum disorder series explores the common myths and misconceptions the general population has on autism.

It is important to clear up any myths /misconceptions - not only so that your perception of autism is not clouded by them hence reducing the social stigma, but also so that you can debunk these myths when other people say them to you.

This lack of understanding can make it difficult for people on the autism spectrum to have their condition recognized and to access the support they need. Misconceptions can lead to some people who have autism feeling isolated and alone. In extreme cases, it can also lead to abuse and bullying.  

AUTISM MYTHS DEBUNKED!

MYTH 1: VACCINES CAUSE AUTISM (As reported) by
http://www.mamamia.com.au/news/vaccination-myths-busted-by-science-cheat-sheet-on-immunisation/#1pXaiiSAI1mPWVxO.99

No doubt you’ve heard this myth – it’s been around for some time now. In a nutshell, there is no solid scientific evidence for a link between vaccines and autism. Science has been looking for well over 14 years. The theory that vaccines cause autism was first suggested by Andrew Wakefield in 1998. Since then, Wakefield’s paper has been discredited and withdrawn from The Lancet and Wakefield has lost his medical license for showing “callous disregard” for children’s welfare.

Since 1998 there have been countless large and comprehensive studies looking for a link between vaccines and autism, but the evidence keeps coming up negative. The largest study was done in Denmark and covered all children born from January 1991 through December 1998. A total of 537,303 children of which eighty-two percent were vaccinated for MMR were examined and there was no association between vaccination and the development of autistic disorder.

MYTH 2: INDIVIDUALS WITH AUTISM ARE VIOLENT
 
Though there have been recent news stories relating autism to violence, violent acts from autistic individuals usually arise from sensory overload or emotional distress, and it is unusual for individuals with autism to act violently out of malice or pose any danger to society.

MYTH 3: ALL INDIVIDUALS WITH AUTISM HAVE SAVANT ABILITIES

While there is a higher prevalence of savant abilities among those with autism, only about 10 percent of individuals with autism exhibit savant abilities. Some have what are called “splinter skills,” meaning skills in one or two areas that are above their overall performance abilities.
 
MYTH 4: AUTISM IS CAUSED BY POOR PARENTING OR “REFRIGERATOR MOTHERS”

In the 1950s, there was an assumption that autism was caused by emotionally distant or cold parents. Though the exact cause of autism has not been determined, it is now firmly established that autism has nothing to do with parenting.

MYTH 5: AUTISM IS CAUSED SOLELY BY ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS

Genes are likely one of the causes of autism. Parents whose first child has autism are more likely than the general population to have a second child with autism. Identical twin studies have shown that if one twin has autism, the other has a 90 percent chance of having autism as well.

MYTH 6: PEOPLE CAN GROW OUT OF AUTISM

People do not "grow out" of Autism Spectrum Disorders. With early intervention and good educational programs progress may be significantly better.

MYTH 7: PEOPLE WITH AUTISM ARE UNABLE TO EXPRESS OR FEEL EMOTIONS
 
If there isn’t a smile across their faces or a frown upon their foreheads, it doesn’t mean that they are emotionless. Autistic people still feel emotions, happy or sad, just as strongly as we do. They are only unable to communicate emotions through normal gestures such as hugs and kisses. Instead, they express emotions in different ways—coloring, staring out the window or feeling hyper, just to mention a few.
 
MYTH 8: PEOPLE WITH AUTISM ARE INTELLECTUALLY DISABLED
 
An interesting thing about autism is that it can bring out many outstanding abilities as well as limitations. Many people with ASD have good IQs and usually excel in the subjects of mathematics, art and even music.
 
MYTH 9: AUTISTIC PEOPLE MUST LEARN TO FOCUS & MAKE EYE CONTACT
 
This issue is an important one that both parents and educators should pay attention to. Parents with autistic children or even guardians living and surrounding people with ASD should learn that teaching or even forcing them to make eye contact could be physically painful for many autistic people. They should be allowed to respond in other ways besides making direct eye contact. With socialization and interaction, autistic people can gradually learn to make more eye contact.
 
MYTH 10: PEOPLE WITH AUTISM DON’T LIKE TO BE TOUCHED OR DON’T FEEL LOVE
 
Indeed, their sensitivity to sound and touch is higher than other people, and so they usually prefer to keep some physical distance for their own comfort. Ultimately, like everyone else, autistic people crave love and it is incorrect to say that they don’t feel love. People with autism feel and express love in their own ways to their families and loved ones. Similarly, they fall in love just like anyone else.

Compiled by Dr. Neelam A. Ismail

Sources: http://www.asianscientist.com/2013/11/health/5-autism-myths-busted-2013/
http://www.pbs.org/pov/neurotypical/autism-myths-and-misconceptions.php
http://www.autism.org.uk/about-autism/myths-facts-and-statistics/myths-and-facts.aspx
 

“Community’s health – CHB’s priority”

Please bear with us while the Africa Federation Website undergoes some essential maintenance works.

afedDonateOnline

Join Our Mailing List



The Africa Federation is a member of The World Federation of KSIMC, an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the ECOSOC of the United Nations

© Africa Federation | Site By LMNO.co.uk | SiteMap | feed-image RSS