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Misconceptions About Autism

Misconception

Reality

Autism is an emotional condition that is caused by a child's withdrawal 
from parents who 
are cold and unwilling to accept him/her.

 
Autism is a neurological disorder resulting in a developmental disability characterized by difficulties in social reciprocity, language acquisition, and 
attention to the normal range of environmental events. The cause of this neurological disorder is largely unknown. Recent evidence indicates that abnormalities of the cerebellum, the limbic system and of neuro-chemical transmitters may be involved. There is no evidence that autism is caused 
by an atypical parenting style. Families of children with autism exercise the 
same variations in parenting as families of typical children. Also, many 
children with autism have typical siblings without autism.


Autism is a low- incidence disability.



According to recent statistics from the National Institute of Health, autism 
spectrum disorders represent the third largest developmental disability 
group in this country. This increased incidence is thought to be a function 
of improved methods for identifying children who present with symptoms.

Dustin Hoffman's character in Rain Man
is a typical example of
a person with autism.

People with autism present with an enormous range of individual differences. Dustin Hoffman's character illustrates one point on a very wide continuum of personalities and skill levels. As in the typical population, some but not all individuals with autism excel in an area of interest (e.g. math, reading, music, 
art, etc).

Children with autism lack the ability to form
emotional attachments.

 


Many children with autism are normally attached to their parents and 
other members of  the extended family. Some may present with sensory dysfunctions (e.g. overreaction to touch, vision, sound, etc.) which lead 
them to express and receive affection in unconventional way. However, 
the stereotype of a child with autism who is indifferent to the social world 
does not fit in most cases.
Autism is a life-long disability.


With appropriate treatment, almost 50% of individuals with autism will 
become indistinguishable from the mainstream population. Many others 
will develop independent living skills. A small number will require support throughout their lives.


There exists one single treatment that is appropriate for all children with autism at
all times.

 


Autism is a spectrum disorder and children with autism appear to 
benefit from a spectrum of treatment options. Research suggests 
that a behavioral treatment approach is appropriate as a starting 
point. However, many children win benefit from additional treatment 
options (e.g., sensory integration, auditory processing, traditional speech-language therapy, pharmacological interventions, special 
diets, etc.). The diagnostic category of autism is less than 60 years 
old, and treatment efficacy research has not yet been completed.
    

       M. Koenig 9/24/97                                                                                            
 

 

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