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Raising Special Needs Kids Raising Special Needs Kids

Do These Myths About Autism Bother You?

Posted by on Feb. 11, 2013 at 11:24 AM
  • 17 Replies
1 mom liked this

10 Biggest Myths About Autism From Moms Who Know

Posted by Jeanne Sager

autism awarenessBy now you've probably seen the numbers. One in every 88 kids today is being diagnosed with autism. There are autistic kids on TV shows, autistic kids in the news, autistic kids in your kid's classroom. It's safe to say Americans know that autism exists.

But that doesn't mean they know the first thing about the spectrum disorder. This is the next hurdle for parents of kids on the autism spectrum: breaking down the myths that follow their kids everywhere they go. Think you know better? Test your knowledge with these autism myths:

1. Moms of kids on the spectrum are "Refrigerator Moms." The term comes from the '50s, when there was an assumption that autistic behaviors stem from the "emotional frigidity" of a child's mom, and it's a complete myth. As Erin Mast, committee chair of the Central NY Community of Autism Speaks and mom behind A Million Pieces for Autism, says, "I am NOT a refrigerator mom. I loved my kids from birth and continue to love them today."

2. Autistic kids have no empathy. "This is not the issue," says Shannon Rosa, editor of Thinking Person's Guide to Autism and mom of a boy with autism. "The issue is generally processing social signals and body language. Autistic people are often more empathetic than non-autistics, plus have fewer filters to protect themselves from other people's emotional states."

3. Autistic kids need to be taught to make eye contact. "Um, no!" Rosa says. "Eye contact is physically painful for many autistics. Others can either make eye contact or talk, but not both at the same time. Responses come in many forms, other folks need to learn to respect that. If I ask my son a question, and he responds verbally, that's good enough for me."

4. Kids on the spectrum are just like Dustin Hoffman's character in the movie Rain Man. "Everyone assumes that all people with autism have savant skills, especially memory type things," Mast explains. "That is not the case. Like any human being, each person has skills that they are better at than others, but not all have a savant skill."

5. Non-speaking autistics always have intellectual disability. Not true, says Rosa. "Many autistics communicate by typing, by AAC (alternative and augmentative communication), etc. Having written that, I don't pine away waiting for my mostly non-speaking son to suddenly start typing his thoughts to me. If he did, that would be great (especially for him!). But I love him for who he is right now."

6. Autistic children can't stand to be touched. Not true at all says Leigh Merryday, mom of a child with autism and blogger at Flappiness Is. Need more proof than that? Just check out the pictures of her hugging little Callum on her blog where she describes him as "quite a friendly and affectionate little guy."

7. There is an autism "epidemic." Sure, the numbers are up, but this is a big no, Rosa says. "First, autism is not a disease. Secondly, due to changes in diagnostic criteria, most of the children diagnosed with autism today would have different diagnoses 20 years ago. If there's any crisis, it is one of underdiagnosis, as that infamous '1 in 88' CDC study revealed."

8. Kids with autism have no sense of humor. These moms will tell you the exact opposite. As Rosa says of son Leo, he "is a gleeful imp."

9. Autistic children don't feel love. Another one that gets under Merryday's skin because it's absolutely untrue. A New York Times feature on a couple -- both with autism -- falling in love did a lot to break down this stigma.

10. Autistic children are mentally retarded. If they're not being labeled savants, it's the exact opposite, Merryday has found. But when researchers took a long, hard look at the long-standing assumption that kids with autism suffer from mental retardation, they found it was far from the truth. Some kids on the spectrum are harder to test than others, but that doesn't mean they are lacking in intelligence.

What autism myths bother you?

by on Feb. 11, 2013 at 11:24 AM
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Replies (1-10):
Elyssa414
by Elyssa on Feb. 11, 2013 at 12:08 PM
1 mom liked this
Ehh, I don't have kids with autism, but ignorant assumptions about any child annoy me.
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
natesmom1228
by on Feb. 11, 2013 at 12:16 PM

I just had a discussion with my sons school counsler about #4 and we both had a nice laugh over it.

jjamom
by Michele on Feb. 11, 2013 at 12:26 PM
This is what I was thinking.


Quoting Elyssa414:

Ehh, I don't have kids with autism, but ignorant assumptions about any child annoy me.

Posted on the NEW CafeMom Mobile
Cafe MichelleP
by Head Admin on Feb. 11, 2013 at 12:42 PM

I think that one is funny too. Especially since the man who was the inspiration for the character of Raymond Babbitt wasn't even autistic. He had Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum. One of the same diagnosis that my son has. We meet Kim Peek (who the character is based on)  and his father at the NODCC annual conference a few years ago.


Quoting natesmom1228:

I just had a discussion with my sons school counsler about #4 and we both had a nice laugh over it.



natesmom1228
by on Feb. 11, 2013 at 12:46 PM

 I really wish these misconceptions were not so believed,  but they are. I find it funny how when I tell people my son has Tourette Syndrome, the first thing they ask me is if he swears uncontrollably. That is the least common tic that is one there, but it's the only one people seem to think of.


 

Quoting Cafe MichelleP:

I think that one is funny too. Especially since the man who was the inspiration for the character of Raymond Babbitt wasn't even autistic. He had Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum. One of the same diagnosis that my son has. We meet Kim Peek (who the character is based on)  and his father at the NODCC annual conference a few years ago.

 

Quoting natesmom1228:

I just had a discussion with my sons school counsler about #4 and we both had a nice laugh over it.

 

 


 

Cafe MichelleP
by Head Admin on Feb. 11, 2013 at 12:52 PM


I blame a lot of those misconception on all those trash talk shows of the 90s and early 2000s. It seemed like every week, they showcased children with 'rare' disorders. Tourettes being one of them and every single child with TS that was on, had uncontrollable swearing outbursts. People will believe anything, if they dont educate themselves.

Quoting natesmom1228:

 I really wish these misconceptions were not so believed,  but they are. I find it funny how when I tell people my son has Tourette Syndrome, the first thing they ask me is if he swears uncontrollably. That is the least common tic that is one there, but it's the only one people seem to think of.


 

Quoting Cafe MichelleP:

I think that one is funny too. Especially since the man who was the inspiration for the character of Raymond Babbitt wasn't even autistic. He had Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum. One of the same diagnosis that my son has. We meet Kim Peek (who the character is based on)  and his father at the NODCC annual conference a few years ago.


Quoting natesmom1228:

I just had a discussion with my sons school counsler about #4 and we both had a nice laugh over it.







natesmom1228
by on Feb. 11, 2013 at 12:58 PM

Interesting, I do agree that if it's on TV then it must be the norm. Unreal!!


Quoting Cafe MichelleP:

 

I blame a lot of those misconception on all those trash talk shows of the 90s and early 2000s. It seemed like every week, they showcased children with 'rare' disorders. Tourettes being one of them and every single child with TS that was on, had uncontrollable swearing outbursts. People will believe anything, if they dont educate themselves.

Quoting natesmom1228:

 I really wish these misconceptions were not so believed,  but they are. I find it funny how when I tell people my son has Tourette Syndrome, the first thing they ask me is if he swears uncontrollably. That is the least common tic that is one there, but it's the only one people seem to think of.


 

Quoting Cafe MichelleP:

I think that one is funny too. Especially since the man who was the inspiration for the character of Raymond Babbitt wasn't even autistic. He had Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum. One of the same diagnosis that my son has. We meet Kim Peek (who the character is based on)  and his father at the NODCC annual conference a few years ago.

 

Quoting natesmom1228:

I just had a discussion with my sons school counsler about #4 and we both had a nice laugh over it.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

AliKatAK47
by on Feb. 11, 2013 at 2:46 PM
No because I don't believe them. But for a long time I believed #2 because of something terrible.
Posted on the NEW CafeMom Mobile
sammygrl77
by on Feb. 11, 2013 at 6:13 PM
Same here.


Quoting Elyssa414:

Ehh, I don't have kids with autism, but ignorant assumptions about any child annoy me.

Posted on the NEW CafeMom Mobile
willysmama
by on Feb. 11, 2013 at 6:16 PM



Quoting sammygrl77:

Same here.


Quoting Elyssa414:

Ehh, I don't have kids with autism, but ignorant assumptions about any child annoy me.


same here

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