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Myths of autism

There are many myths of autism and I thought I would highlight a few, according to Lisa Jo Rudy of   Until we dispel the myths that the media loves to perpetuate, we will not begin the real work of find causes and cures.

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A diagnosis of autism is not the end of love and hope. But media stories thrive on the most overwhelming and horrifying circumstances. Here are just a few of the myths perpetuated by TV, magazines and movies — myths that, at least in my opinion, deserve to be blown away!

1. Autistic People Are All Alike

Myth: If I’ve met an autistic person (or seen the movie Rain Man), I have a good idea of what all autistic people are like.Fact: Autistic people are as different from one another as they could be. The only elements that ALL autistic people seem to have in common are unusual difficulty with social communication.

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2. Autistic People Don’t Have Feelings

Myth: Autistic people cannot feel or express love or empathy.Fact: Many — in fact, most — autistic people are extremely capable of feeling and expressing love, though sometimes in idiosyncratic ways! What’s more, many autistic people are far more empathetic than the average person, though they may express their empathy in unusual ways.

3. Autistic People Don’t Build Relationships

Myth: Autistic people cannot build solid relationships with others.Fact: While it’s unlikely that an autistic child will be a cheerleader, it is very likely that they will have solid relationships with, at the very least, their closest family members. And many autistic people do build strong friendships through shared passionate interests. There are also plenty of autistic people who marry and have satisfying romantic relationships.

One of the biggest problems with these myths is that next to no people on the spectrum fit within these myths; therefore, not only will many people be mistreated and wrongly judged; but also, many will be undiagnosed and fail to receive treatment because of misconceptions.  Check out the links on our blog page to learn more about autism.


  1. Kiwis Mommy says:

    I see this is old, from 2010. However, #3 in trying to dispel a myth actually perpetuates one. Unlikely to be a cheerleader is so far from the truth. There are several across the U.S. now on Varsity squads, not special squads for kids with disabilities but girls included in regular JV or Varsity squads and they earned their spots and perform amazingly. I should know, my daughter is one of them, and she has broken every stereotype and prediction others had for her. With the right school, the right kids, the right community and a determined child, absolutely anything is possible. It is not only likely, but happening more and more. In our case it turned out cheerleading was the perfect activity for my daughter, she is very good…she is a perfectionist, and has a near photographic memory, she is tiny and follows rules rigidly. Everyone’s hesitation has turned into an amazing success as the administration, coaches, the girls on the team, and the entire student body have taken as much pride in her success as she has. Whenever I thank someone, they say “no, we should be thanking her for showing us that labels have no place in schools, whose goals are to help kids to grow, blossom, and excel.” Our High School doesn’t just talk the talk of inclusion, they have walked the walk. I only wish every family with a child with autism could experience the same. But never say something is unlikely for a child with autism, as the author herself says, every child with autism is unique and different like any child.

  2. Becky Cash says:

    Hi Kiwis Mommy,

    You are absolutely right and in choosing to reprint an article, I apologize that I missed that detail. I completely agree with you and actually, there are people on the spectrum who are cheerleaders, ball players, scientists, moms, dads and so much more. Than you for pointing out that detail and for reading. I hope to start blogging again more regularly.


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