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Myths about Autism – Part One

I was recently encouraged to list what I consider are popular myths relating to autism. Over my next few blogs, I will list and discuss some of them.

Myth #1: Vaccines cause autism

This is my number one myth for a reason! How many reasonable and factual studies does it take to debunk that 1998 study that claimed a link between autism and vaccines? There is no link. I won’t go into this myth further, because that study and the myth about vaccines being the cause of autism has been debunked so many times. It’s simply not true.

Myth #2: Autism is caused by the environment

I believe that autism is caused by a combination of factors, the first one is genetics. I believe that my child “had it in him.” In my womb. Then, he was born and developed late. Everything he did was late. He missed all of his “developmental milestones.” Luckily, he began to receive services by age fifteen months.

Did he get some kind of trigger? Could it have been something in the environment? I don’t think so and many studies support my belief. He had it in him to begin with. Then, he developed late and was later diagnosed. I just don’t believe the environment causes autism.

Myth #3: The Refrigerator Mom

Frigid Moms cause autism? Really? And, what the heck is a frigid mom? Moms who were unfairly labelled that in the 50s.

Myth #4: Autism is new

Autism was first described by a scientist by the name of Leo Kranner in 1943. And, Hans Asperger did a study and wrote a paper about “little professors” in 1944 in Germany.

It may be true that the awareness of autism has never been greater that it is now, but today we live in the land of social media. Word spreads fast, and it’s getting faster every day.

In the autism community, for example, all a new mom or dad need do is reach out to an autism organization or a friend with a child on the spectrum, and help will soon be on its way.

I discovered years ago how giving the autism community is. It is a pay-it-forward community.

Myth #5: Autism is a mental health disability

Autism is a neurological disorder. People on the autism spectrum typically do not have intellectual disabilities. They have a tendency to have a high level of intellect. It is not a mental disability, as proven in many studies.

Myth #6: Repetitive or ritualistic behaviors must be stopped

Temple Grandin is a woman with autism who is considered the top of her field in animal sciences. She is a successful author and autism activist. I’m paraphrasing here, but she believes that if a child has a strength why deviate from it. Build on that strength. That strength could become what that child chooses to do with his/her life. Which is perfectly acceptable. Temple Grandin is proof that an individual with autism can achieve success in life if they have a focus and make it their lifetime purpose.

I’ll continue debunking myths about autism in my next blog.

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