According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in 50 school-aged children are diagnosed with some form of autism. Given these relatively high rates of occurrence, it is likely that you know someone who has been affected by the disorder. As any researcher will tell you, autism research is in its beginning stages with experts constantly building upon the knowledge they have previously compiled on the subject. However, it is important to know that certain conceptions and ideas are entirely false, and likely impede progress, slowing help for children with autism.
Here are three common myths and misconceptions regarding autism:
- Autism is brought on by vaccines
In 1998, an extremely flawed scientific study came out that suggested a correlation between childhood vaccines and autism. Since then, many people have come to believe that vaccines can cause autism. Besides this one very faulty study, there is zero legitimized evidence that vaccines and autism are linked in any way. If anything, the idea has perpetuated a harmful sense of fear regarding the safety of vaccines, leading to outbreaks of other childhood diseases that were previously under control.
- There is an autism epidemic happening
While autism diagnoses have jumped dramatically since the 1980s, many believe that autism is an epidemic that is more common for recent generations. However, it is important to take other factors into consideration, such as advances in research and public awareness of the signs of autism, more media attention, and a recent redefinition that placed autism on a spectrum.
- There is a cure for autism
While cognitive and social impairments due to autism can be improved through behavioral treatment and special education programs that specialize in working with learning disabilities, autism isn’t something that can be cured. Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that impairs social interaction and communication. Meanwhile, it can often enhance other facets of a person’s life, such as intellectual capacities. Children with autism shouldn’t be looked at as broken beings; instead, they should be looked at as a neurodivergence. With the right schools, educators at schools and loving home, children with autism can lead happy and relatively normal lives.
What do you think of these myths? Do you agree or disagree? Share your thoughts below.