Thursday, March 28, 2013

Misconceptions of Autism

April is Autism Awareness month, as most of you have probably already heard by now.  As a parent of a child on the spectrum, I sometimes forget that not everyone is “aware” of what autism looks like.Life before autism feels like a lifetime away for me. So, it’s so hard for me to recall what my knowledge or understanding of autism was before my son was diagnosed.
Michael and his dad Michael Sr

The image you may have of autism – likely shaped by Hollywood or the media – may look nothing like your child’s classmate, your neighbor’s son, or your friend’s daughter who attends a special school for children with autism.  Children on the spectrum are as diverse in their gifts as in their needs.
The common thread among them all is difficulty – to some degree – with social communication. It can be subtle in its symptoms – as simple as not knowing how to talk to peers. But it can be as severe as being non-verbal. Many, but not all, children on the spectrum also have motor skill difficulties, sensory processing issues, and speech and language difficulties.
I’d like to share with you what I see as five of the most common misconceptions of autism:
1-    People with autism are math wizards or gifted artistically
2- Autism is an emotional/behavioral problem. 
3- Children with autism are incapable of building personal relationships. 
4- People with autism have lower IQs
5- Autism can be cured. 

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