LOS ANGELES – April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day. The stated goal of the day is to “increase understanding of and acceptance of autism and foster worldwide support.” While many people know someone with autism, there are still some common misconceptions about autism. Here are some common myths, and the real truth behind them.
- People with autism don’t want friends: While people with autism may struggle with social skills in a way that might make them seem unfriendly, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not interested in social connections like everyone else.
- Autistic people can’t feel emotions: People with autism feel the same emotions anyone else does, they just communicate those feelings in different ways.
- People with autism are like Dustin Hoffman’s character in Rain Man: While it is true that some autistic people are very high functioning in certain areas, what’s true of one person isn’t necessarily true of another person, and it’s never a good idea to make generalizations.
- People with autism will have autism forever: Autism is a spectrum, and with early intervention, it is possible for children to “test-out” of the spectrum later on in life.
- But here’s one fact that is undeniably true: rates of autism in children are higher today than they’ve ever been. One in every 68 children is diagnosed on the autism spectrum. That means that on World Autism Awareness Day, it’s more important to understand and accept autism than ever before.