Even though we’ve come a long way in autism research, many people still actually have a ton of misconceptions about the disorder. In honor of Autism Awareness Month, I’d like to take the time to share the top four myths about autism that need to be debunked right now. Feel free to share with friends and family, and participate in Autism Awareness Month through April.
1. Kids with autism can’t feel any emotion.
I find this to be an extremely common assumption about autism. The truth is, autism doesn’t automatically make a child unable to feel the emotion that you might feel – it just makes the child express and communicate emotion in different ways. It also makes the child perceive emotion in different ways as well.
2. Kids with autism are intellectually disabled.
Did you know that people with autism have normal to high IQs? In fact, many of them may excel at math, music or any other subject, more than other children. We often tend to focus on the limitations caused by autism, but autism can also bring about exceptional abilities.
3. Kids with autism just have brain disorders.
It’s not just about a neurological disorder. In fact, kids with autism also have food sensitivities and severe allergies, which is why we see lots of research being conducted recently on the physical and mental benefits of dairy-free and gluten-free diets.
4. Autism therapy is covered by all insurance companies.
This is a big one, and deserves a whole blog series on its own. It’s a big deal, especially in Hawaii. Even the current mandate for insurance to cover therapy for children 14 and under with autism, doesn't ensure that your child will receive the services. It can be a long, tough battle with insurance companies who use the "wear the parent down until they give up" technique.
Some of you would be surprised to know that insurance coverage for developmental disorders is a severely common problem throughout the country. More insurance companies exclude autism from their coverage plans, and only half of the 50 states currently require treatment covers for autism, which make it harder for parents to be able to afford treatment for their children.