An understanding of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) has been an evolving one for the last few decades. Researchers and practitioners have been and are constantly unraveling more and more about the disorder. There are several myths that have been associated with Autism, and for Autism week, my daughter and I wanted to start debunking Autism myths by using social media.
Over the course of the last week, we have been doing a Facebook Live together.
The Idea was to open dialogue about the different assumptions or misunderstandings that are often Associated with ASD.
While, Debunking the Myths
Earlier this week, on my Brave Ecstatic Woman Facebook page, I posted an article entitled; Autistic People are not failed versions of ‘normal’. They’re Different, Not Less. The article was written by a man named Steve Silberman. He gives a brilliant overview of the common myths in desperate need of debunking. In addition, he also does a powerful TED Talk. (which you will find below).
April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day.
It is a day to show love and support for the 1 in 68 Canadian children (and many adults as well) who are on the autism spectrum. The goal in some respects is to raise funding to support much needed research and support but another point, if you will is much bigger.
Show support in learning about the spectrum disorder. And, receive information that will help you debunk the many myths that are still all too common about autism and people on the spectrum.
Myth #1 — Autism is a Mental Disorder or Neurological Condition (Facebook Video)
In short, the best way to debunking this myth, is that no — it’s neither. What Autism is however is an overload or flooding of sensory stimulation. My daughter explains it best though … Consider your thoughts to be like Playdough. When you first take the colours out of the container they are clean and that of a solid colour, right?
Well, in the brain of those with Autism, think of when the colours are all mixed up. And, getting them back to the original colour isn’t going to happen! Doesn’t make them bad, worse, unable — it does make the colours different.
Myth #2 — Autistic People are all Geniuses (Facebook Video)
All people are geniuses. I mean sure, there are some famous names you might know. Like Albert Einstein or Thomas Edison who are believed to have been geniuses as children. But, it is hardly fair to paint everyone with the same brushes — we are meant to be our own people, our own power, our own genius. Where the term genius is misconstrued is that the intense of hyper focus that many autistic children and adults experience can be viewed as ‘genius like’.
We could learn a lot from this hyper focus in all honestly. And, in the article mentioned above, it reads this;
These strengths offer potential boons to our communities and workplaces, but only if we are able to provide the appropriate accommodations, supports, resources and research to improve the quality of life for autistic people and their families. We’re moving from viewing people on the autism spectrum as failed versions of “normal” to — as the industrial designer and writer Temple Grandin (TED Talk: The world needs all kinds of minds) says — “Different, Not Less.”
Corporate companies are slowly recognizing and appreciating how valuable these minds are. And although they may work a little differently, they are not limited the way the myths we are committed to debunking are.
Myth #3 — People who are Autistic Feel Emotions Less (Facebook Video)
This can be different for many people — including those with Autism! My daughter, shares how when she becomes angry or sad for example, she feels them really, really, really bad. Whereas, she displays them differently where you or I might. however, there are autistic children and adults who maybe haven’t had the support or learned how to manage the feelings that you may perceive as ‘normal’.
So instead, it can appear withdrawn or emotion’less’.
Myth #4 — Autism is a Disability (Facebook Video)
Let us change your verbiage. We prefer, different-ability. Autism should not indicate that someone is unable to do something. It simply means, they do it differently. And, what we are learning is these things that may appear ‘different’ are an excellent ability to more people and companies Globally.
Debunking Myths is Imperative in Moving Forward