Autism awareness comes in many forms, with both parents and kids fighting the stigmas and educating others about the spectrum disorder through telling stories, sharing experiences, and offering information. For some parents, though, autism awareness is something they choose to keep close to their heart or through a tattoo on their bodies, whether it’s visible to all, super tiny, or a large, colorful piece.
The lack of understanding about autism can make it difficult for people on the autism spectrum to have their condition recognize and for them to access the support they need. False and often negative perceptions about the condition as well as misconceptions can lead to some people with autism being isolated and in extreme cases, lead to abuse and bullying. Autism can be a complex condition with many children experiencing an overlap in symptoms.
Common myths and misconceptions about autism. Individuals with autism spectrum disorder avoid social contact.
Individuals with autism spectrum disorder are often keen to make friends but may find this difficult.
Individuals with autism spectrum disorder cannot lead independent and successful lives Given appropriate education, many students with autism will grow up to be successful contributors to society.
Autism is the result of bad parenting. There is clear evidence from research that autism is not caused by bad parenting but from a difference in the way the brain develops before the child is born.
All individuals with autism spectrum disorder have special talent or ‘savant’ skills.
It is estimated that 10% of individuals with autism spectrum disorder may have special abilities in areas like music, art, mathematical calculations, memory and manual dexterity. The majority however, may have areas of high performance that relate to their special interests or obsessions. These skills are often referred to as ‘splinter skills’, as they are often not consistent with skills in other areas of development.
Autism can be cured: There is currently no documented cure for autism. Individuals with autism respond very well to structured early intervention, education and vocational placements that focus on the unique learning style of students with autism.
People with autism do not make eye contact. When persons with autism feel relaxed and confident with the communication partner, eye contact can be quite spontaneous. It is NEVER a good idea to force a person with autism to have eye contact with you.
People with autism cannot talk: Communication is more than talking. Some students with autism will develop speech seemingly effortlessly, but will require help to communicate appropriately with their peers. Others will require assistance to communicate their basic needs and wants, using a combination of words, gestures, and augmentative communication systems such as PECS.
Autism can be outgrown: Children do not ‘outgrow’ autism but symptoms may lessen or change as the child develops and receives appropriate interventions. People with autism do not have feelings and thus are unable to show affection.
People with autism can and do give affection. However, due to differences in sensory processing and social understanding, the display of affection may appear different from typical people. Understanding and acceptance of these differences is the key.
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