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Autism Spectrum Disorders

Updated on April 9, 2019

Autism Facts and Myths


  • Autism is now diagnosed 1 in 110 children - 1 in 70 are boys
  • Autism in military active duty dependent children is diagnosed 1 in 88
  • Autism is diagnosed more then AIDS, diabetes and cancer combined
  • Boys are four times more likely to be diagnosed with Autism then girls
  • Autism costs the United States 35 billion dollars a year and only receives 5% of the research funding
  • There is no known cause or known cure for Autism

Autism is a group of developmental disabilities that have significant impact in certain areas; Social, Communication, and Behavior. A person with Autism processes information in their brain differently then an average person in their peer group. Autism Spectrum refers to a "spectrum of disorders" affecting people in different ways and ranging in severity from mild to severe or "low" vs "high" functioning. Individuals may share the same symptoms but to varying degrees, onset of symptoms may vary and the extent of the symptom as well.

  • "Classic" Autism is what most people think of when hearing the word Autism.
  • "Classic" Autism is the most severe of the spectrum disorders
  • Autism occurs in all countries and among all socioeconomic classes
  • Early diagnosis and intervention is crucial
  • Autism is the fastest growing developmental disability in the U.S.


  • MYTH - Autism is an emotional, psychological, or mental disorder/illness
  • FACT- Autism is a biological illness that effects some aspects of emotion and behavior. The biological illness effects the growth as well as the development of the brain.  Today Autism is more recognized as a neurodevelopmental disorder.
  • MYTH - Autism is a result of bad parenting, neglect, or abusive parents.
  • FACT - In the past it was a theory of Doctor Bettelheim; that Autism was a result of a cold and unloving mother or "refrigerator mother" theory.  Evidence to the contrary however, points to a genetic pre-disposition to the disorder. 
  • MYTH - Ritualistic behaviors or repetitive mannerism should be deterred.
  • FACT - These behaviors are a general symptom of physicians when looking for Autism.  Such behaviors as hand flapping, head banging, and rocking back and forth do serve a purpose to the Autistic individual.  They may have a calming effect on a child, help an individual communicate socially, or feel good.  They only pose an issue if it affects the person's ability to act independently or within their family surroundings.  Some outgrow these behaviors.
  • MYTH - Autism maks it impossible for them to form social relationships.
  • FACT - Autism in the more high functioning form can develop relationships socially while towards the lower functioning level make it difficult if not impossible for them to form relationships.  They vary in degrees of their difficulty in functioning on a social level. 
  • MYTH - They can't be Autistic; they are too social
  • FACT - While some children have been not diagnosed early due to this misconception; a child that is overly social may still be on Spectrum.  If the child is very social but inappropriately so, doesn't follow normal conversational rules, is unable to follow the discussion or topic appropriately, makes inappropriate gestures or things of that nature; then they can still be Autistic.  It is a "difficulty" functioning in social situations not necessarily the "ability" isn't there or the "need" to isn't as well.
  • MYTH - Autistic people are a danger to society
  • FACT - A small amount of the entire population with Autism Spectrum disorders are involved in criminal activity.  They tend to act out behaviorally out of frustration not malice.  

Fact or Myth?

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© 2010 Abigayle Korinne


Submit a Comment
  • abbykorinnelee profile imageAUTHOR

    Abigayle Korinne 

    8 years ago from Plymouth WI

    It is proven that Autism Spectrum Disorders are more highly diagnosed then I believe juvenile diabetes, HIV, and cancer combined yet recieves the least amount of funding. Something is wrong with that and my question is 1. Why so little funding for the most commonly diagnosed disorder with such a high increase of diagnosis? and 2. Why wouldn't the government who is trying to say they are innocent in wrongdoing in regards to the vaccine issue or the environmental issue with the reasons for more being diagnosed and are saying that research they have conducted is legit and rules these things like vaccines out; why wouldn't they WANT to further research into the reason if they are so confident people like myself are looking into the wrong reasons? Seems to me that if so many people are researching themselves into an issue, the government would want to support the issue and provide more funding for the cause...look at breast cancer...autism skyrockets over breast cancer statistics right? Where are the products, services, commericals, walks, the involvement, the publicity for autism and research needs?

  • L.L. Woodard profile image

    L.L. Woodard 

    8 years ago from Oklahoma City

    Here's hoping funding for autism research increases.


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