Thursday, 12 March 2009

Autism - Myth and Reality

Autism is a very complex condition.  The spectrum covers
a wide range of neurological and developmental impairment,
therefore it is rather difficult to give a short defin-
ition. It is an invisible disability, because autistic
people do not look any different than the rest of us, and
often can communicate pretty well. These facts are the
reason why raising awareness of autism is so difficult
and why there are still many myths within the society.
I am tired of explaining my daughter's "excentrism".
Therefore I have compiled a 10 most common

-It's the parents' fault that their child is autistic
If you mean the genetic data then you can blame the
grandparents too. It is a genetic disorder. Bad
parenting or too much television and gaming is not
a factor.

-MMR vaccine causes autism
There is no straight answer to this statement as there
is no scientific proof against or pro this theory.
The research is still undergoing. From my own
experience, my daughter was born autistic,
my younger child had MMR vaccine and has no signs of

- All autistic people are maths and art savants
No. They do exist, however "Rainman" is not a norm.
Large number of people with autism have the average
or above average IQ and as long as they are interested
in the subject they exceed in it with some exceptions.

-All autistic people are thick and can't talk
No. People affected with the most severe end of the
autistic spectrum are non verbal, however their IQ
can still be very high. There is a large number of
autistic people who are very eloquent eg. lecturers,
lawyers, writers, actors.

-All are violent or have behavioural problems
No. An autistic person needs routine and often
(please note "often" not "always") is hyper-
sensitive to sounds, colours, touch, smells etc.
Therefore in the situation of unpredicted change
of routine or where there are too many, or too
strong sensory stimulae they may become upset
and panic. The screaming, running or pushing away
a helping hand may be the only way to express their
discomfort. It is very important to remember that
autistic people are often uncomfortable when touched
by a stranger or even a member of family, as they
find it threatening.

-They haven't got a sense of humour
Actually they do, although usually they have
a problem understanding innuendos and word games.
Autistic people understand speech very literally,
therefore a joke based on the multiple meaning
of the words or expressions might go right over
their heads.

-They have no imagination
Usually it happens in people with the form of
autism called the Asperger's Syndrome, but you
probably will find a few exceptions from the
rule as well. Many have a great imagination.
Children with autism are often known to lose
the difference between reality and their
imaginative world.

-They can't live independently
That depends on severity of impairments,
many of autistic people are able to become

-They are unemployable
Most ridiculous. Autistic people are
obsessive and like their routine, therefore
they are experts in their chosen subject.
The work place usually provides employees
with predictable routines and changes
are announced well in advance.

-They can't build relationships
Well, again it all depends on personality,
severity of communication problems etc.,
however I do know some who are happily married
with children. Remember that some so called
"normal", (although I prefer the term "typical"),
people stay single or face relationships

-You can cure autism
If you think that you can rewire the brain like
they did in your house, you're in the science-fiction
area at the moment. Autism is a lifelong neurological
condition. All you can do is teach your child social
skills, help them understand people's behaviour
and the reason for it, and hope they will manage
when you die.


  1. This is very informative.
    i used to know a child with autism and downsyndrome - i think his autism was quite severe. As for the fault section, it isn't any ones "fault" - just a random selection of genes.
    Good Job on this!

  2. Just wanted to say you've put some great information on here...and I'd like to know if I could refer people to your blog(?) I have a daughter on the spectrum...and I have a website that I started on Autism but that severely needs updated. I also work with people on the autism this is very near and dear to my heart. I enjoyed reading your blog...and the information is great for those who don't know enough about Autism. Occasionally when I encounter those people...I'd like to refer them to my site and a few blogs that talk about the subject. Thanks...Jenn.

  3. This was not what i was expecting when i clicked on your blog link but i like the unexpected! This is extremely informative and i admire that you are putting this information out there. It can do wonders in this kind of realm where information flows freely on the internet. I hope you reach the masses who need to know this. Best of luck :)

  4. really like reading this though its not something i would usually. perhaps i like it cause its real to you and your living it right not sure but i shall carry on reading and following u x

  5. I honestly always wondered about autism. Heard it from Oprah but too lazy to do a detailed research. This post was quite helpful and best of luck to you and good wishes to your daughter. :)