April is autism awareness month and as we see an outpouring of support from people across the world for people with autism, it’s easy to forget that there are still a lot of misconceptions about autism that many people hold. Part of raising awareness for the autism community must be dispelling common misconceptions about autism so society evolves and more opportunities become available for people with autism. Here are 10 of the most common misconceptions about autism:
1. Autism Is Caused By Bad Parenting
Despite the fact that the “refrigerator mother” theory was first proposed nearly 80 years ago, a small number of people think that autism is caused by bad parenting. This comes from observation and making unfounded correlations between children diagnosed with autism that were raised (and neglected) in institutions with children in normal families who also were diagnosed with autism. The assumption was that mothers weren’t bonding properly with their children and caused autism. However, that pseudo-science has been dispelled.
2. Autism Is A Covered Condition For Insurance
Despite the fact that the rate at which people are diagnosed with autism has risen 600% over the last 20 years, there are still many insurance plans that exclude autism from coverage. However, at least 48 states have passed some kind of autism insurance coverage law thanks to the awareness work of community advocates.
3. Autistic People Can’t Work A Job
This is one of the common misconceptions about autism that is a harmful generalization based off of single cases. This bias is harmful because people on the spectrum are woefully underemployed and this prevents them from living independently or gaining access to support they need.
4. People With Autism Are Similar To Movie Portrayals
Another one of the common misconceptions about autism is that people with autism are in any way like Dustin Hoffman’s character in Rain Man or that they have some nearly supernatural gift with numbers and mathematical equations. Autism is a spectrum disorder, meaning that the range of ways that it affects people in their daily lives is vast. Some people might display a penchant for numbers or technical interests, but everyone is an individual.
5. Children With Autism Are A Tragedy
One of the most harmful misconceptions about autism is sadly the most commonly held notion on this list. While parenting a child with autism comes with unique challenges, it is in no way a tragedy to have a child with autism. People with autism just require support in different areas and the change in attitude starts with awareness and advocacy.
The good news for the autism community is that advocacy and awareness are working. Communities are more involved than ever in the fight to find new treatments and scientific breakthroughs about autism. And there has been a remarkable rise in available support for people with autism.
Lexington Services is a support provider for people with autism in AZ. Our staff provides a range of services to help maintain care, establish independence and integrate into the community. Are you looking for a place to feel at peace that your loved ones with autism are being taken care of? You can find that solace at Lexington. Call 480-900-1009 for more information.
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