3 Myths About Autism Spectrum
If you’ve ever searched autism spectrum disorder (ASD) on the internet before, you’ve probably realized that there’s a lot of information, and not all of it is accurate. Even movies and television depicting people with autism can sometimes perpetuate harmful tropes about ASD.
At The Cardinal Center for Behavior Analysis, we want to be a resource for you and your family, and that means arming you with the correct information to help spread awareness and acceptance for autism. Let’s talk about three of the most common myths about autism, and why they’re misconceptions.
MYTH #1: Autism is a Disease, and There is a Cure
ASD is not a disease. It is a developmental disorder that affects a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others around them. Autism encompasses a broad spectrum of symptoms and conditions, so no two people will express ASD in exactly the same way.
People with autism are not “sick,” and autism cannot be “cured.” They simply see and process things differently than neurotypical (that is, non-autistic) people do, and need extra support to navigate the world as it is. For example, certain things that may come easily to us may require therapy for people with ASD, such as practicing social interactions and verbal communication.
MYTH #2: My Child Will Never Make Friends (or Doesn’t Want To)
Making friends can be hard enough for any child, but for children with ASD, there are some extra hurdles. People with autism sometimes have trouble reading social cues (like tone of voice, body language, and facial expressions) which can isolate them from their peers. And while it may seem like your child would rather be alone, there’s a good chance they’re just not able to communicate how they feel.
But remember: Just because your child may communicate differently or has difficulty with social interactions doesn’t mean that they don’t want to make friends. No matter where your child falls on the spectrum, companionship with their peers is something all people need — perhaps with other children who share their special interests, or even their classmates in ABA therapy.
MYTH #3: My Child Will Never Be Independent
It’s common for parents of children with ASD to be anxious about the future — sometimes about the far distant future. You may ask yourself, “Will my child be able to attend mainstream school? Will they be able to go to college, to have a job? Will they be able to live independently?”
This is a hard one to answer, because as we’ve said, every child with ASD is different, and the future doesn’t look the same for everyone. In fact, there’s no concrete way to predict exactly what your child’s development will look like, but early intervention can go a long way toward helping them meet different milestones.
While it’s very possible that your child will be able to attend mainstream school, hold a job, and live on their own, some individuals may require more support along the way from teachers and caregivers, sometimes into adulthood and throughout the course of their lives. Whether or not this is the case for your child will depend on their own unique needs. All you can do is what you feel is best for them in that moment, and trust that you will continue to keep their best interests at heart when making decisions for them as they grow.
FACT: The Cardinal Center is Here to Help
At The Cardinal Center for Behavior Analysis, we individualize each and every ABA therapy plan, using what your child loves to motivate them to learn, reinforce positive behaviors, and isolate negative behaviors to work towards replacing them with constructive ones. We offer a variety of resources for parents, including support groups, before and after school care, in-home therapy, and more.
Get in touch. We're here to help.