Myths About Autism

To continue in the theme of autism, I'm going to focus on some of the misconceptions surrounding autism. I'm also going share some celebrities you know who either are on the spectrum or are related to someone on the spectrum. These are the main myths I found in my research:

Myth: People with autism don't have a broad range of emotions, therefore, they cannot build and sustain relationships.
It's actually quite the opposite. People with autism are able to read their emotions. They can be overly concerned about emotions at times. Even my brother, who is very severe, knows when he is sad, happy, or angry, and knows how to express that emotion. What can be difficult is reading other’s emotions, due to the lack in social skills. But for the most part, autistic people do have emotions, and can understand others' emotions.
Myth: Parents cause autism.
There is no known cause of autism. This belief, however, goes back to the 1940s, when a professor named Bruno Bettelheim said autism was caused by bad parenting from the mother. The term “refrigerator mom” is defined as mothers being “cold” to their children, causing the child to have poor social/communication skills, leading to ASD. For a long time, people believed this because Bruno was all over mainstream media spewing these lies. Leo Kanner (who discovered autism) actually made this belief, but Bruno made it “popular.” It wasn’t until Bernard Rimland disproved Kanner’s theory that people stopped believing this.
Myth: Vaccinations cause autism.
This is a tough one because I do believe there are some factors in vaccinations that lead to autism. The chemicals and preservatives are not meant to be in the human body. However, there is no proof that vaccines do cause autism, so it’s up to you to decide. I did a lot of research in high school regarding this topic, and I personally believe it does have a factor in causing ASD.
Myth: Everyone with autism is the same. "If I've met one individual with autism, I've met them all."
Just like non-autistic people, an individual with autism is NOT like someone else with ASD. Some are good at math, while others can sing. Just because they're similar in social skills or behaviors doesn't automatically make them the same. That's why it's called Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Myth: Autism is a disease.
A disease is something you come down with, like depression or anxiety. Someone with autism is born with it, and will live with it for their entire life. Mental illness or any other disease doesn’t always correlate with autism. Just call autism what it is: a developmental disability.
Myth: Individuals born with ASD eventually grow out of it.
You don't "grow" out of autism. Someone may become more cognitively developed, but autism will always be part of his/her life.
Myth: People with ASD have mental superpowers.
People assume individuals on the spectrum are like Rainman. It's not true. Some are exceedingly smart, but not all are. Some are in the middle, and some are severe. People with ASD have limited interests, so they put a lot of focus into those interests.

Here are some famous individuals who live with autism. Some may surprise you! 

  • Sylvester Stallone: If you remember Rocky II, the baby who played Robert (Rocky's son) was Seargeoh Stallone, Sylvester's second son (he's in his mother's arms). Around the age of 3, Seargeoh was diagnosed with autism. Both parents were shattered, but pushed through this obstacle. They called their son a "special genius," because even though he was limited verbally, Stallone said his son would draw or write letters. "There is no real father-and-son thing there. I have to become his playmate. With a child like this, you have to put your ego away." Stallone has increased autism awareness. From what I found, he keeps his son out of the spotlight because his son prefers solitude, and Sylvester visits him in private.
  • Susan Boyle: She became famous for her audition on Britain's Got Talent, but she has Asperger's. She said it wasn't going to stop her from achieving what she wanted. "It will not make any difference to my life. It's just a condition that I have to live with and work through."
  • John Travolta and Kelly Preston: Their son had autism and heavily suffered from seizures. He unfortunately passed away after seizing in the shower.
  • Nikki Reed: Playing Alice from the Twilight saga, Nikki has spoken out about how her brother has autism. She said you’d never know he had autism because he’s so “high-functioning.”
These myths are still relevant because many people believe it’s true. The myth that caught me off-guard was that people actually think individuals with ASD are all the same. Obviously, I have more experience dealing with ASD than others do, but that’s like saying every person of one race is the same. Everyone with autism is different. Their interests, their level of comprehension, and more, are different from their autistic peers. Hopefully, I cleared up any misconceptions about autism. I hope you liked learning about celebrities who live with ASD. Sylvester Stallone definitely shocked me when I first learned about it. Check out this video sharing celebrities who live with Autism:

Did any of these myths surprise you? Comment down!!

Read my other autism-related posts:


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