Autism Myths Completed Article


Myth:   

Autism spectrum disorders are not increasing in incidence. They are just being better diagnosed, and diagnosed earlier so the numbers are increasing.

Fact:     

Autism spectrum disorders are increasing world-wide at an alarming rate. Some countries are considered to be in an autism epidemic.  Better and earlier diagnosis can only account for a fraction of the current increases in numbers.

Myth:    

It is better to "wait and see" if a child improves than to refer the child for a diagnostic assessment.

Fact:    

The earlier autism spectrum disorders are diagnosed and treated, the better. Outcomes for children's lives are significantly improved with early diagnosis and treatment.

Myth:     All children with autism are mentally challenged

Fact:    

Usually the children are perceived as mentally challenged because they are unable to communicate. However, when the children receive early intervention and because they have good memories, they show that they can learn and achieve goals in life.

Myth:   All children with autism are savants
Fact:   

Only 5 % of all children with Autism have savant skills.  These children stand out for their superior ability in a specific area, like doing mathematics far above their age or art or music.  

Myth:  Children who are mildly autistic do not require early intervention


Fact:   

Mild or severe, these children’s thought patterns are very literal and they therefore build patterns into their daily routine.  In order for them to learn to become more flexible they need to acquire the tools to be able to understand and cope in an unpredictable world.

Myth:    All children with autism do not want to be touched or hugged.

Fact:   

Children who are sensory sensitive are the ones who cannot tolerate to be touched.  There are many children on the spectrum who crave physical interaction.

Myth:    Children with autism do not make eye contact

Fact:    Some children are comfortable with eye contact and because of this are often misdiagnosed.

Myth:    Children with Autism will never properly talk or communicate

Fact:   

Some children have dyspraxia.  This means it will take longer for their speech to develop and will become more intelligible as it is practiced, but it will develop.  Only in severe cases does a child with autism not talk.  But communication is possible for all as they learn to sign or use PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System). These methods teach them how to connect and interact with other people.

Myth:

People with autism spectrum disorders cannot have successful lives as contributing members of society.

Fact:  

Many people with autism spectrum disorders are successful and contributing, however, this is most likely to happen when appropriate services are delivered during the child's public educational years.

SNAP is a program for children with autism, with head quarters based in Durbanville, Cape Town. They offer a unique, child-specific, one-on-one, integrated program for children with autism and other special needs. Their program recognizes the uniqueness of each child and is geared to addressing the needs of each individual child and their family.

For more information visit www.snap.org.za or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.