But unless you're a person with autism, the parent of a child with autism, or a person who actually works with autistic people, you may have some pretty offbeat ideas about autism. For example -
- You may believe that all people with autism are highly intelligent and/or talented
- Conversely, you may believe that all people with autism are intellectually challenged and/or non-verbal
- You may believe that the causes of autism are well known - or that we know nothing about the causes of autism
- You may believe that a diagnosis of autism is always permanent - or that a simple change in diet or a short stint of therapy can cure autism
- You may believe that the treatment or therapy mentioned on this morning's news program is the magic bullet that will "recover" your friend's/relative's child
- You may believe that people with autism are unable to feel love, use their imaginations, or express affection
- You may believe that a diagnosis of autism is always a tragic event
Of course, all of these myths are out there, many are publicized widely, and quite a few are shared among caring friends and relatives who just want to help. And it's not always easy to explain that the autism spectrum is incredibly broad; that people with autism are as different from one another as any other group of people; that we know surprisingly little about what's likely to help any given child or adult; that pity for our situation goes only so far.
So how do you explain autism to folks who know just enough to misunderstand? Here are a collection of articles to print and share among friends and family!
If you're sick of hearing about all the "deficits" challenging people on the autism spectrum, join the club. But for every downside to autism, there seems to be a positive -- an unusual trait that rarely appears among the "typical" community, but shines out among autistic folk. These pluses are well worth celebrating.