It’s Autism Awareness Month, which means it’s a good time to take a look at some of the common misconceptions out there about autism spectrum disorder. This information will not only increase your knowledge of the disorder but will also be beneficial when you’re interacting with those who are autistic.
Autism Refers To a Spectrum
Initially, autism was thought to be the name for an all-encompassing disorder. However, years of research have shown that it’s more of a spectrum. There is a wide range of conditions that can have mild to severe symptoms. Generally, an autism spectrum disorder includes having difficulty with communication, speech, social skills, and repetitive behavior.
There Are More People With It Than You Know
According to recent data, the number of people who have been diagnosed with autism has increased over time. It’s estimated that this growing number is likely being caused by increased awareness of the symptoms of the disorder.
The Symptoms Are Apparent In The Early Years
It’s possible to diagnose a child with autism before the age of 4. In fact, the disorder has been identified in children as young as 18 months. The diagnosis is possible because tell-tale signs of autism include developmental delays such as smiling or babbling.
It’s More Likely To Be Diagnosed In Boys
While it’s been estimated that 1 in 68 people have autism spectrum disorder, the data suggests that it’s 4 or 5 times more likely to be diagnosed in boys. It’s uncertain why this discrepancy occurs.
Girls May Be Misdiagnosed or Underdiagnosed
As a follow-up to the previous point, recent data shows that only 1 in 151 girls are being diagnosed with autism. To explain the discrepancy, health experts suggest that the symptoms may manifest a little differently in girls so it’s not as easy to identify. There is also evidence that minorities tend to go underdiagnosed as well.
Verbal Skills Can Develop Over Time
Having issues with communication is one of the well-known characteristics of autism. However, just because someone starts out as being nonverbal, it doesn’t mean that they will stay that way. With the right programs, many people can learn to be functional and even fluent.
The Cause Is Still Being Investigated
It’s been established that vaccines don’t cause autism and it doesn’t seem to be caused by prenatal care either. However, the exact cause of the disorder is still being investigated. The hope is that in the future, it will be easier to determine if a child is going to be autistic.
Treatment Must Be Individualized
Autism spectrum disorder varies from one person to another other and so for treatment to be effective, it has to be