Myths and Facts

Autism Myth: Autism is the result of emotional deprivation or emotional stress

Autism Fact: Autism is lifelong. Many autistic people are susceptible to anxiety disorders due to their differences with social communication, interaction and sensory processing

Autism Myth: Autism is a mental health condition

Autism Fact: Autism is a lifelong neuro-developmental condition.  Academic research indicates that 71% of autistic children also have a mental health problem

Autism Myth: If a person is autistic, they will not have any other condition

Autism Fact: Autism can coexist with other conditions including, but not limited to, ADHD, Down’s syndrome, epilepsy & learning difficulties

Autism Myth: Autistic people should be taught to make eye contact

Autism Fact: Lack of eye contact doesn’t necessarily mean someone is being rude; some autistic people find it difficult/physically painful to make eye contact and many report that focusing on eye contact makes it impossible for them to listen

Autism Myth: Only children have autism

Autism Fact: Autism is a lifelong developmental condition – autistic children become autistic adults; autism is not a degenerative condition but you don’t ‘grow out of it’ either.  Autistic people are most likely to fulfil their potential with specialised support and a knowledgeable, understanding general public

Autism Myth: Stimming (repetitive behaviour like flapping or rocking) is undesirable and should be stopped

Autism Fact: Repetitive behaviour like flapping or rocking can help some autistic people deal with chaotic environments or stress and if suppressed may exacerbate their distress. Stimming can be a healthy method of personal expression & sometimes communication for people with autism

Autism Myth: Autism only affects males

Autism Fact: Autism affects males and females, though statistics indicate that more males are affected.  Research indicates that it may be harder for females than males to get a diagnosis for autism because most diagnostic tools were developed based on a male presentation of autism.  The process of diagnosing autism can vary depending on location and the diagnosticians/diagnostic services but Autism diagnoses in the UK should now follow guidelines issued by NICE (See the NAS website for more information about diagnosis in the UK).

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