Myths about Autism – Part Four
In this blog, I’ll wrap up how I would debunk myths relating to autism.
Myth #16: Children with autism don’t feel emotions
As I discussed previously about empathy, children with autism definitely feel emotions. They get frustrated, angry, sad, happy, and feel love. They simply struggle with expressing these emotions, and/or tempering them. A meltdown is a form of extreme frustration from a child with autism. That child hasn’t learning enough coping mechanisms and a heightened level of frustration overcomes them. They can’t cope and it’s spirals out of control.
But, they are dealing with their emotions.
Myth #17: People with autism can’t speak
Some can’t, true. However, most individuals not on the lower end of the autism spectrum can speak. Maybe even have a form of verbal diarrhea. They talk so much, typically about a preferred topic, that they have trouble stopping.
Myth #18: Autistic people are a danger to society
This is another one that drives me crazy. Many individuals with autism have a strong tendency to pull away from society, be by themselves. They are typically not attention seekers and/or individuals with a violent agenda. They have their structures and their routines. Even if they go out into society fairly regularly, go to a job, for example, they typically are not reactive to some of the pressures of society. They have their routine, their schedule, their ways of doing things, so they wouldn’t, for example, have a need to make some kind of political statement.
There has been news stories about one or two individuals who just happened to be on the autism spectrum committing violence. There may be individuals out there, even ones on the spectrum, who are capable of violence. However, compared to typical individuals who are also capable of violence, the number of people on the spectrum like that is relatively small.
Behaviors by people on the spectrum arise out of frustration or physical or sensory overload, they are almost never a result of malice.
Myth #19: Autistic individuals can’t be expected to do much of anything
As I previously stated about Temple Grandin, she believes any individual can have a focused goal and can achieve that goal with hard work and determination. That includes people with autism. Since Temple Grandin is a woman with autism, she is proof.
I believe that about my child. I believe he’ll fall in love with something, probably something computer-related, and pursue that. I don’t care what it is. I know my kid and I know that he’ll learn all he about whatever that thing turns out to be, and he’ll be the rest at it.
If people with autism end up in a “niche” in society, it’s because these individuals can focus solely on one task and accomplish their goal. That is true of my child.
He will be a functioning part of this society as an adult, as will many, many other kids I know who are also on the spectrum. Not giving any child a chance to succeed is a terrible idea. Especially children on the spectrum.
Myth #20: People with autism are all like Dustin Hoffman’s character in “Rainman.”
Dustin Hoffman played the character of Raymond in the movie, “Rainman.” He played the role of a guy. One character. One person.
The guy was just that, one guy. You may not find another individual out there on the spectrum who has an obsession with Jeopardy like the character of Raymond. So, therefore, Raymond was one individual. And, he wasn’t even real!
I do believe Dustin Hoffman did a wonderful job of portraying that one person. This fictional guy was like this. Dustin Hoffman created a character with many autistic-like traits.
Still, Raymond was like no other individual on the autism spectrum, and no other individual on the autism spectrum is like Raymond, fictional or not.
I’m sure there are other myths relating to autism out there, but I feel I covered plenty. Hopefully, some or all of them will retire permanently into the history books!
More on Kimberly Kaplan:
To purchase “Two Years Autism Blogs Featured on ModernMom.com”
or “A Parentsʼ Guide to Early Autism Intervention” visit Amazon (print or digital) or Smashwords
LinkedIn: Kimberly Kaplan