Autism is a brain disorder that is characterized by abnormalities in a person's social behavior, as well as limitations and repetitions in it. In the course of the disease, milder symptoms may appear, which are referred to as autism spectrum disorders.
In autism, changes are observed in many areas of the brain, but the course of their development is unclear. Early detection and intervention can help a child acquire self-help, communication and social skills, but there is no guaranteed cure for autism. Few children, upon reaching adulthood, are able to exist on their own.
At the moment, the causes of autism are not entirely clear, it is only clear that they are associated with genes. Perhaps their multiple interactions are to blame, or perhaps rare mutations. There are also controversial theories of the occurrence of the disease, for example, vaccination of children. Doctors estimate the prevalence of this spectrum disorder at 0.6% of the general population.
Interestingly, boys are 4 times more likely to have autism than girls. The mysterious reasons for this occurrence of this disease, its course gave rise to many myths around it, which will be partially debunked.
Myths about autism
Poor parenting can be the cause of autism. I would like to believe that this myth has already been eradicated, because it has long been proven that this is not true. Autism is a neurological condition, so it cannot arise for psychological reasons. After all, if poor parenting and a tough attitude from parents caused autism, then there would be many more cases in the world.
Low functioning and high functioning autism are completely different diseases. Even following the name, it is clear that the diseases are still different. However, studies have shown that there are no fundamental differences between patients with these two forms, except for the IQ level. With both diagnoses, the main deficiencies are the same, they are simply expressed in their own way.
All autistic people are the same. Usually such a myth is based on comparing one familiar autistic person to everyone else. Others are believed to behave similarly. Of course, patients have some common features of deviations, as a result of which some of their gestures and manners may coincide. But these people have their own personality, like all of us. The following three statements also apply to this myth.
Autistic people think exclusively in pictures. Indeed, visual thinking in such people occurs much more often than in ordinary people, but it is impossible to unequivocally consider such brain work to be a universal or unique characteristic. Not all autistic people think in this way, although books and scientific works are even written about this way of thinking.
Autistic people have sensory problems, which are expressed in increased sensitivity to sounds and touch. Sensory problems may be that mild stimuli are not perceived at all or hyposensitivity, in the presence of synesthesia, when one feeling is mistaken for another and other deviations. It is interesting, however, that these problems can relate to any sense, including the sensation of space or the vestibular apparatus.
All autistic people have some kind of special ability. According to statistics, only 10% of autistic people have unusual abilities. This indicator is thousands of times higher than that of other people, but still, this is more the exception than the rule. It happens that unusual abilities appear in childhood, and then, with the experience of communicating with people, the possibilities disappear. By the way, such abilities are not necessarily useless, some autistic people successfully use them, say, for employment.
Autistic people cannot really talk. This is not true, it often happens that the occurrence of autism in children is ignored, since they communicate quite successfully, but after a few years the disease still makes itself felt. Many autistic people even start talking early enough.
Autistic people have severe intellectual disabilities. Autistic people can have any kind of intelligence, not differing in this characteristic from ordinary people. At first, children's intellectual achievements can be interpreted as collateral deviations, and later they can be interpreted as features of a gifted person. Therefore, the IQ test is not indicative for autists, nor for other people. It should be noted, though, that in autistic people, the gap between IQ and ability deficits can be much wider than in ordinary people. You should not consider the lack of abilities in one area as an indicator that there are no abilities at all, or they certainly exist in the other direction.
All autistic people have problems with other people. Parents of sick children are often taught that their children can never experience feelings like love. However, many autistic people have full-fledged families and children. Sometimes, even severe forms of autism do not prevent people from showing affection, showing concern about the feelings of others.
Behind the sink of autism is an ordinary, normal person. It is believed that it is possible to take some measures that will release a normal person outside, breaking through the wall of autism. However, this is not true, autism penetrates a person, significantly influencing his ability to feel, perceive events, information, reactions, and interactions. The disappearance of autism from a person will radically change him, so that you can see a completely new personality.
Autism, especially low-functioning autism, is completely negative in itself. Autistic people remember their non-verbal childhood experiences, but many do not perceive them as negative. This state was not accompanied by feelings of loneliness or fear. Yes, the world may be incomprehensible or somewhat scary, but this is taken for granted. Usually, the perception of aspects of autism depends on the attitude of people towards them. For example, hyper focus can seem like a problem when viewed as a quality that forces you to focus on the soles of your feet while passing traffic lights. But with intensive work with projects, this quality can be irreplaceable. This applies to those cases when a person works as a freelancer or requires increased attention when working at a computer. Autism cannot be perceived solely as bad or distinctive. Yes, in general, autism leads to disability, but many are satisfied with this state of affairs, because healing can lead to the loss of a person himself, entail serious psychological problems.
Autistic people are often obsessed with something, prone to rituals, self-stimulating behavior, this must be fought. Indeed, this behavior is typical of the autistic person, but it is usually completely harmless. Autistic people release their tension and regulate information from their senses through self-stimulating behavior. There is a direct relationship between an increase in self-stimulation and a decrease in self-harm in patients, which can hardly be explained by chance. Is it worth identifying stimulating movements as "strange" and fighting them if a person himself seems strange to society? This modification may be desirable for those highly functioning autists who may want to blend in with the crowd. To make the appropriate decision about changing behavior, one must understand whether the autistic person will have problems? We emphasize once again - the propensity for specific interests is inherent in autism, annoying others, but this trait is harmless! Sometimes obsession even helps in career advancement. For example, if a person is passionate about computers, then employers will undoubtedly be impressed by the obsession in this environment. Obsessive-compulsive disorder can occur in autism, but this is a different phenomenon. In conclusion, it can be said that behaviors that are socially unacceptable, and not just strange and annoying, really need to be corrected, as they can be harmful or illegal.
If children tease each other, then there is nothing wrong with that. Many believe that it is in such skirmishes that the character of the child is tempered, not paying attention to how the real bullying occurs. There is also an opinion that children themselves are to blame for such behavior of their peers, or it simply comes down to the fact that "children are children." For the most detached autistic children, there is nothing wrong with swearing, they simply do not perceive them, having generally a weak perception of people in general. But with age comes awareness of the place for such bullying and social exclusion. As a result, sick people may experience depression, which can provoke suicidal thoughts and intentions, and self-harm may appear. Therefore, children bullying each other, teasing is still better to prevent, these are not at all harmless games, as a result of such a relationship between children, serious consequences can arise.
Autistic people, like all other ordinary people, need and want the same thing. Many people judge autistic life from their own point of view. Like, I would be unhappy in this position, which means that they are also unhappy. It should be noted that autistic people often make unusual choices regarding their recreation, entertainment and social life in general. It seems strange to many that autistic people do not go and do not seek to attend parties, dances and other entertainment events. Often autistic people prefer fiddling with constructor blocks or small objects to active rest. It may seem strange, but no one is harmed from such behavior. The main thing is that sick people like it, bringing them a piece of pleasure. Ordinary people consider themselves completely independent, for them this feeling is important, although in fact they bear the burden of social responsibility and dependence. But autistic people are really independent, while their feeling is different from ordinary people. We must try to look at the life of autistic people and their values through the eyes of sick people, and not instill in them the point of view of those who do not understand and do not accept a foreign world.
Autism is a common childhood illness. Few realize that autistic children grow up and the disease stays with them. Society gets autistic adults. These people learn, develop and grow, like everyone else, maybe even more. Only for autistic adults, especially those leading an active social life and performing certain functions, there are practically no specialized services.
Having "mild" autism should not affect a person's behavior. There really is no such thing as mild autism. Even a highly functioning autistic person spends a lot of money to adjust to society. Many people minimize Asperger's by calling it "nerd" syndrome. However, there is a clear difference between a normal healthy person, albeit strange, and an autistic person, albeit highly functioning. The boundary is where certain character traits lead to disability. For example, a sick person has a guest mode. In it, the autistic person is practically indistinguishable from the ordinary person, but long-term work in this mode can lead to a serious nervous breakdown. This is why an autistic person may need rest intervals. For others, this behavior may seem like a sign of laziness or unmotivatedness, irritating those who are around. Autists can only remind them of their illness, so that people understand that high functionality still has certain limitations.
In life, it is easier and better to be a high functioning autist than a low functioning one. In childhood, a sick person has no need for communication, no understanding of why this is necessary. Accordingly, there is no frustration from the absence of this. Many autistic people even regret that they have learned to communicate with the rest of the world, because by doing so they have lost their unique fairy-tale non-verbal world. They often yearn for him, unable to return. Parents of autistic children argue that low functioning children are generally happy. For patients, it is not the lack of the ability to do something that is difficult, but the realization that the desire for action is not supported by the ability to implement it. Therefore, many autistic people find it easier to be low-functioning than to be in a state in which they cannot get the desired result.