Behavioral Health

Dispelling Myths and Misconceptions About Autism

Though autism awareness continues to grow, there are still many misconceptions about it. Learn more about these myths in our blog.

Autism, also known as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), is a type of disorder that affects how someone communicates, interacts with others, and behaves.

Though autism awareness continues to grow, there are still many misconceptions about it.

Providing the best care for those with autism starts with learning more about the diagnosis and staying informed. Below, we’ll dispel five common myths about autism:

  1. Autism is caused by bad parenting or lack of love and attention
  2. All individuals with autism are nonverbal and have intellectual disabilities
  3. Autism is a childhood disorder that is outgrown in adulthood
  4. Individuals with autism lack empathy and social skills
  5. Autism is a single disorder with a single cause and cure

Myth #1: “Autism is caused by bad parenting or lack of love and attention”

Autism is a genetic diagnosis—bad parenting or a lack of attention does not cause autism. 

The fact is that we aren’t entirely sure what causes autism. While we know that several factors contribute to the diagnosis, such as genetics and environment, there’s still a lot we don’t know about autism causes.

Also, since autism is genetic, children can’t suddenly develop the diagnosis. Symptoms may take time to show, but it’s certainly not caused by bad parenting or lack of attention. 

Myth #2: “Everyone living with autism is non-verbal and they have intellectual disabilities”

Autism is a spectrum—in other words, cases range from mild to severe with everything in between. 

Not everyone living with autism has issues with speaking or any other intellectual disability. For example, Asperger’s Syndrome, which is a form of autism, affects a person’s social skills. Meanwhile, their intellectual ability can be just like everyone else’s. 

It’s important to remember that not every case of autism is the same, which is why different treatment methods exist depending on the case. 

Myth #3: “Autism is a childhood disorder that is outgrown in adulthood”

With no real cure, autism isn’t something that is simply outgrown. In fact, there is a lot of interest in children living with autism becoming teenagers and adults and how it affects them. 

Symptoms of autism may be managed with different treatments and supports, but it’s impossible to outgrow. Autism is something that a person will live with for the rest of their lives. 

Myth #4: “Individuals living with autism lack empathy and social skills”

Symptoms of autism will vary from person to person. Although many people believe that people living with autism lack empathy, the truth is that they may have imbalances in empathy skills — especially when compared to others. Combined with lagging social skills, these symptoms may be viewed as a lack of empathy.

Social skills are the same — though an individual living with Asperger’s Syndrome may lack social skills, other people living with different forms of autism may be more social. It completely depends on the individual. 

Myth #5: “Autism is a single disorder with a single cause and cure”

Autism is a spectrum that is made up of all different forms, symptoms, and levels of severity. With so many different cases, there’s no one treatment or type of support that can be used for everyone living with autism. 

Some of the autism treatment approaches include:

  • Developmental approaches - Developmental approaches focus on improving skills that are supposed to develop with age, such as physical skills or language skills.
  • Behavioral approaches - Behavioral health services focus on changing certain behaviors by encouraging desired behavior and discouraging unwanted behavior.
  • Educational approaches - This focuses on support in a classroom setting — people living with autism often thrive in a visual setting with consistency and daily routines.
  • Medications - Medications don’t directly treat ASD, but some may be used to treat certain symptoms. For example, inability to focus or high energy. 

There are many different treatment approaches — all of which are used in different cases depending on the person. 

As for the cause of autism, there’s still a lot we don’t know. However, we do know that it’s caused by a variety of things, such as a genetic condition. There isn’t one specific cause of autism. 

How Can Sevita Help?

Sevita works with different companies that help people living with autism get the therapy and support they need to achieve their goals and live the life they want. They can help with things like managing cases and behavior services. Sevita's companies can help people living with autism in the way that works best for them. If your loved one has autism, learn more about how Sevita's companies can help them today.

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