Autism – fact or fiction?


fact-or-fiction_hAutism has given way to numerous myths about the disorder. Its origin is still debated today and researchers continue to try and find an exact cause. Many statements about the disorder exist. Some are based in fact, while others are fictional. Below are ten statements. Can you separate the truth from inaccurate?

1) Autism occurs more in boys than girls. – Fact

Recent findings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that 1 in 88 children are diagnosed with autism. According to the CDC, 1 in 54 boys are diagnosed with autism. That figure is five times higher than girls diagnosed with autism, about 1 in 252.

2) Autistic individuals have increased senses. – Fact

No I’m not talking about Spider Senses, although if my brother could spin webs and swing from building to building that would be awesome. People with autism are much more sensitive to their environments  Fluorescent lights bother them, while those same bulbs are invisible to us. During family parties, my brother will often put cotton in his ears to soften the noise. Common chatter is normal to us, but autistic people are much more reactive to these every day noises.

3) All autistic people are savants. – Fiction

Not every person with ASD is Rain Man. Savants are people who have incredible minds.

tumblr_lzpno48OI31qi3gveo1_400 (1)

To watch the Deck of Cards scene, fast forward to 1:40

Rain Man was a savant. If you took out the Ace of Spades in the deck of cards and showed the remaining deck to Rain Man, he would know the Ace was missing.

4) Autism is a disease – Fiction

Autism Spectrum Disorder is not a disease. Cancer is a disease. Alzheimer’s is a disease. Diseases kill you. Last I checked, autism does not kill.

5) You need a sense of humor when interacting with autistic people – Fact

This may be the most true item on this list. Your sense of humor will get your through some rough days. Do you have any smart-ass friends? Keep in touch with them. A good laugh everyday is healthy.

6) Autistic people can read social cues. – Fiction

People with ASD have tough time reading social cues. It is one of the tell-tale signs of an autistic person. Social interaction is the main obstacle of autism, but just because they have difficulty interacting does not mean they do no want to be your friend. You just have to open the door.

7) Autistic people will listen to everything you say in a literal sense. – Fact

Autistic individuals understand black and white directions. Sarcasm, puns or cliches will confuse them. If you say, “Rule of thumb,” to an autistic person, they will be confused. Speak in sentences where they will not be confused. For example, “Go hang your coat in the closest, Joni.”

8) Early treatment is a cure for autism. – Fiction

There is no cure for autism. Early treatment can help an autistic person develop the everyday skills they will need as well as improving their social interaction among other life skills.

9) If a couple has one autistic child, the chances of them having another autistic child increases. – Fact

One study revealed that if a couple has one autistic child, the chances of their next child having autism increases by 19 percent.

10) Autistic people are not intelligent. – Fiction

Everyone is intelligent in their own way. People with ASD just have a different way of showing their own intelligence. One blogger quoted one of my favorite sayings from Albert Einstein.



8 thoughts on “Autism – fact or fiction?

  1. Jafar

    Thank you for sharing the facts. Education & awareness is the key to interacting with Autistic individuals. Beautiful!

  2. Snow White

    When I am asked… “What is Autism?”, I reply – “It is a Way of Life… A Way of Life that chosen for you rather than by you”. Sense of Humor – absolutely the BEST quality to have for any situation. When your son arrives at Thanksgiving Dinner naked – you better be able to laugh!!! Great Job Tom. THANK YOU for being the advocate so many individuals need.

  3. tagAught

    Just a note re your point #1 – it’s also a fact that a lot of autistic females *don’t* get diagnosed, and so are not incorporated into the CDC’s statistics, because autism presents differently in females.

    May I just say that I like what I’ve read so far of your blog?

    🙂 tagAught

  4. Margaret Rappo

    Another awesome blog, Tom! Great responses to some basic questions. You know that I feel Brian understands everything that he hears. I always tell the story when GranDee was watching Brian and it was time for his movie. GranDee just bought a new VCR and she couldn’t get it to work. She was so flustered. She knew if she didn’t keep Brian on his schedule, she may upset his day. After Brian watched GranDee push all kind of buttons in an attempt to get the VCR to work, Brian walked over to the VCR, gently pushed GranDee out of the way, and easily operated the VCR, sat down and began to watch his movie. I believe he was only around 7 at the time. It was hysterical to watch both GranDee and Brian’s expressions on how they handled this situation. I truly believe that Brian is an intelligent young man. He simply cannot communicate with most of society.

  5. ftfoti Post author

    I’m always skeptical with statistics and the CDC seemed to be the most credible to me. I’m with you that there can be some missed calls. Hopefully the rate of missed diagnoses decreases over time. Thank you very much for the compliment though. I appreciate it!

  6. citygirl57

    What a great blog. What I love about people with ASD is that they hold nothing back. How great is it to say exactly how you feel with no filter and not be offensive.

  7. ftfoti Post author

    That is my favorite part about autistic people. You’ll never have to worry if they are lying or sugar-coating anything.

  8. Princess Jasmine

    You know it really is a shame that our family has no sense of humor. We really need to work on that.

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