We may think we know all about autism, but the reality is that there are more myths than facts circulating our social feeds. To learn more about autism this Autism Acceptance Week, we take a look at five myths and facts about autism which have been gathered by Ambitious About Autism.
Before we dive deep into the facts, let’s explore the common misconceptions people have about autism.
Autism is a Learning Disability
Despite popular belief, being autistic does not mean that one has learning difficulties. This is not true at all. This does not mean that autistic people do not have learning disabilities. It just means that they are like everyone else in that some do and some don’t. Being autistic does not automatically mean you have a learning disability.
Only Males Experience Autism
Contrary to popular belief, autism affects both males and females. Many people still think that autism only affects younger boys or young men. However, this is not true. As girls with autism do try and mask their autistic traits, many of us tend to believe that it only affects males.
If You’re Autistic, You Have Special Skills
I’m sure you’ve heard this one many times. You’ve probably heard someone say, “oh, he’s autistic – he must be super clever or he must be awesome at problem-solving!” Well, this is not true at all. Just as there are geniuses among those without autism, there are also geniuses among those with autism. Just because autistic people are passionate about a certain something, it does not mean they are jack of all trades.
If You’re Autistic, You Must Be Good at Math
Similar to the previous point, autistic people are not automatically maths geniuses, and neither do they possess excellent numeracy skills. Yes, some autistic people do, but being autistic does not qualify you to be a math genius. Like the rest of us, autistic people have a wide range of abilities and skills, which differs from one person to another.
Autistic People Are Shy
We hear this all the time. “Autistic people are withdrawn, introvert and shy.” However, this is not true at all. Whilst they may socialise in their very own way – which may seem like they are shy – they are not necessarily being withdrawn and reserved, even though it may seem like it at face value. Autistic people are generally very friendly and love to socialise with the wider world. They just need to be accepted.
Now that we’ve cleared up the fact that the above are all myths, let’s explore some of the facts about autism.
Autism is Incurable
Sadly, autism is something that stays with someone for as long as they live and at the moment, there is no cure. But it’s not a bad thing. Autism should not be viewed as something that requires curing. Autistic people are just like the rest of us, and that is why effort should be made to make them feel included.
Every School Has An Autistic Student
According to Ambitious About Autism, a recent study of seven million young people found that around one in 57 children in the UK are autistic (1.76%). This means it is highly likely that every school in the UK has an autistic pupil. To this day, autistic people have difficult and troublesome encounters with many students in schools. This is why many are homeschooled and others are sent to specialist schools. For that reason, effort should be made to challenge this and bring about more awareness for students and teachers.
Autistic People Like Routines
Autistic people find great joy and comfort when their days are governed by some sort of routine and timetable. What to eat, what to wear, what route to walk and what time to do something are all major concerns for autistic people, and it is for good reason. They enjoy some structure to their day and find that it keeps things neat in their mind.
Autism is Part of Their Identity
As mentioned before, autism should not be viewed as an illness or disability that requires curing. As part of this year’s Autism Acceptance Week, the focus is on accepting, which means autistic people – just like the rest of us – should be part of the social fabric. When someone is autistic, they truly believe that this is an integral part of their identity, which is why those without autism should learn to respect and accept them.
Autistic people have different sensory needs
Yes, it is true – autistic people can be influenced heavily by things like what they see and hear which can ultimately affect even their balance. Sometimes they are over-sensitive, whereas other times, they are under-sensitive. This is why some autistic people prefer to wear sunglasses indoors and others may wear hearing devices which they can use to increase or decrease sounds. Some are very conscious and cautious about whom they touch whilst others only prefer the sight of certain foods.