7 major myths about autism, which is long overdue
April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day. In recent years, they have been talking and writing about this more and more. And almost everyone has ever encountered such a diagnosis among friends or noticed such children in public places. However, there are a lot of myths around autism. Child psychiatrist Maxim Piskunov collected the most popular myths about autism – and prepared reliable information that everyone should read and share with others.Myth 1: All children with autism are brilliant.
In fact, it is not. According to world studies, children with Sawant syndrome (autists who have “the island of genius”) – no more than 10% of all children with autism spectrum disorders. However, British scientists who conducted a survey of parents of children with autism, believe that there are more than 30% of such children. The main brilliant abilities of people with savantism are arithmetic and music.
Myth 2: If a child has autism, he will no longer become “normal”, everything is meaningless
This is not true. The main focus of assistance to children with autism throughout the world is its early diagnosis and immediate inclusion in the program of early help. The sooner the specialist determines autism and starts helping the child, the better the prognosis. If it turns out to determine autism at the age of 1.5 – 2 years, then in the presence of a complex correction to the school age, only some of its features may remain (for example, isolation). There are many examples of people with autism who have achieved heights in their work, for example, Professor Stephen Shore or Professor Temple Grandin.
Myth 3: Children with autism are more painful.
Rather, children with autism have physical health characteristics. For example, these children are more likely to have allergies, sleep disorders and intestinal problems. But they suffer from catarrhal diseases with the same frequency as other children.
Myth 4: Children with autism are afraid of everyone – and even their own mother
Children with autism have a rather wide range of fears and phobias. There is such a theory that children with autism are born in a hypersensory environment. That is, due to the defeat of certain areas of the brain, they cannot distinguish the main sounds from the side sounds (the so-called effect of the “cocktail party”), the main visual images from the minor ones. Therefore, factors that we do not even catch, such as a low noise or flickering fluorescent light, can frighten a child with autism. Moreover, the aura of fear extends not only to the very cause of fear, but also to the environment surrounding the child at that moment. People, their clothes, interior or outdoor space, the sounds accompanying the moment of fear, and other factors also become objects of fear. The fixation on the feeling of fear is so pronounced that it can persist for years after the traumatic situation. Taking into account the fact that an autistic child cannot communicate the reason for his fear to his parents due to a violation of communication, for moms and dads, these experiences seem to be groundless, but this is not so.
Myth 5: Autistic children most often shout at people and make hysterics.
Tantrums, as well as aggression in children with autism, are always protective. It occurs when you try to include them in emotional interaction, violation of the boundaries of personal space or violation of the ritual behavior, that is, everything that is not clear to a child with autism is not clear or not necessary. To complete a tantrum, it is enough to free the child’s personal space and not interfere with the implementation of his ritual behavior.
Myth 6: Autistic children cannot be born healthy.
Currently, the gene responsible for the development of autism has not been identified. However, in many studies of the genetic nature of autism spectrum disorders, great attention is paid. So if in a pair of twins one child suffers from autism, then the likelihood that he will be in the second is 70%. If the family has an older child with diagnosed autism, then the probability of its occurrence in the youngest depends on the sex of the children. For example, if the diagnosis is made to an older sister, then the probability of autism in a younger brother is 16.7%, if the opposite is true (older boy with autism, and younger girl), then the risk is 4.2%.
Myth 7: Before there were no autists, it’s all because of the hormones in the products / vaccinations / Internet / IVF and so on.
In 2018, the rejection of vaccination entered the top 10 threats to human health, according to WHO. Vaccination at the moment is related to the risk factors for the development of autism that have not been confirmed from the point of view of evidence-based medicine, that is, despite a lot of research, no correlation was found.
As it was not possible to reveal in the research the interrelations between IVF and risk factors for the development of autism. However, if the IVF procedure is supplemented with ICSI (artificial sperm injection into the egg cell, complicated IVF scheme – Ed.), Then this is a possible risk factor for the development of autism.