Katherine - posted on 12/28/2010 (14 moms have responded)
My friend bamsmom2001 wrote this and it really resonated with me. In honor of Autism Awareness Month, I wanted to share it with all of you.
Myth #1: Eye contact is impossible for someone with autism.
Some people with autism find making eye contact with others difficult, but others have no problem whatsoever.
Myth #2: People with autism can't show affection.
My son is the biggest snuggle bug ever! Being able to snuggle up has never been a problem for him. For some, it is, but not all.
Myth #3: If a child is progressing, he never had autism.
This is not true. It takes work and patience, but progress is possible!
Myth #4: People with autism cannot communicate.
If someone with autism is nonverbal, they have other ways of communicating. Sign language, pictures, computers, etc. are all forms of communication. Just because a person can't talk, it doesn't mean they can't communicate.
Myth #5: Autism is the result of bad or neglectful parenting.
The "refrigerator mother" myth has been around for some time, and I'm actually surprised it still exists. Almost every parent of a child with autism I've met is very kind, loving, and incredibly patient. They also spend much of their time feeling needlessly guilty about their child's autism, so this myth is less than helpful.
Myth #6: If you have autism, you can repeat the whole phone book or know what day of the week April 23 will fall on in 4 years.
While most children with autism are very smart, an autistic savant is rare. We can all thank the movie Rainman for this little myth. So in the future, please do not ask a mom to get her kid to perform parlor tricks for you.
Myth #7: Children with autism do not want friends.
All children want friends. Some can show this is a better way than others, but I think all children want a friend. Alot of kids with autism just can't figure out how to go about it.
Myth #8: Kids with autism don't get their feelings hurt.
If you've ever seen my son's face after a kid has refused to play with him, you'd know this is not true. They might not get mad and yell at someone, or sit down and cry over it, but it's just as easy to hurt a child with autism's feelings as any other. Please remind your children to be kind.
Myth #9: Better discipline would get their acts together.
Boy, do I love that one! I've been told on many occasions that all I need to do is spank him. Another good one, "Let me keep him for a few days, I'll fix him." You can't spank or yell autism away any easier than you can spank cancer away.
Myth # 10: If a person with autism can't communicate, he can't understand you either.
If someone tapes your mouth closed, do your ears plug up as well? Comprehension skills and expressive skills can develop at different speeds and often do with autism. Just because a child can not say "I love you" does not mean he doesn't hear you when you tell him you love him.
Ok it's me now, let me just say that our Kris blows most of these myths away. He does have eye contacted now...after many years of intense therapy he does have eye contact...not always and most definitely not with strangers-just enough to say hi and that's about it. As for affection, no he isn't a "huggy" kid but will accept hugs if you ask him. In general no he doesn't want you to touch him but he may "bump" into you and that's his way of letting you know he loves you.
Myth #9...oh my gosh that is one area I would like to take a paddle or blet and beat some sense into some people. Family members included!!! I don't know how many times I have heard "if you would spank him more" or "let me take care of him and he would stop all this"! Got news for ya....he has grown up now and although he still has some issues when it comes to behavior, its a constant and I mean daily reminder of telling him what is and isn't appropriate or acceptable. It has been draining at times yes but worth every second. He isn't a bad kid he just doesn't understand that it isn't ok to do certain things at certain times.
I could go through each myth and blow them apart with examples of our Kris but I won't. Only because at this very moment I have a TERRIBLE headache but also because I do not have to for your benefit. My boy, our boy is not any of these things. Yes he might struggle in some areas but who doesn't!!!
I love Kristofer more than life it self. I knew from the very day he was born he was going to be special. God told me so just never knew what He meant and honestly still don't. I just know he is my baby and will forever be my baby who just keeps surprising me with all his progress and abilities :)