FOR MORE INFORMATION TRY OUR COURSE:
Raising Achievement for Students on the Autistic Spectrum
Autism has garnered much attention recently, however, despite advances in science, treatments and educational techniques, there are several common misconceptions about autistic children. Whether perpetuated by movies, such as Rain Man, or simply a lack of public education around the topic of autism, teachers are often bombarded by false representations of what autistic children are like.
We’ve looked at 5 common myths about autism and dug deep into their roots to try to reveal the truth behind these myths. Our hope is that with a greater understanding of autism, society’s perception and treatment of autistic individuals will move in a positive direction.
Myth #1 | Autism can be cured. Autism cannot be cured, however, with early intervention teachers and parents can come together to form a strong support group for the autistic student and implement treatment that when coupled with medical support can vastly improve his or her overall developmental outcome. With an array of strange treatments created to cure autistic children, adults in the child’s life must stay realistic and positive about the child’s future.
Myth #2 | Autistic children are mentally ill. As people we have a tendency to shy away from situations, people and things that make us uncomfortable. Because of this we often mislabel the effect this has on us. Everyday people have long deemed autism a mental illness; however, in reality it is a biological illness that inhibits proper brain development and growth. With early intervention some autistic children can test out of the autism spectrum.
Myth #3 | All autistic children are brilliant. Regardless of whether they are autistic or not, all children have strengths and weaknesses. Autistic children are much like other children in this sense. Some autistic children display strengths in certain areas, but this strength is often countered by extreme weaknesses, such as an inability to communicate or thoroughly understand a concept. Because autism is a spectrum disorder, teachers are likely to encounter a range of students with a variety of strengths and weaknesses.
Myth #4 | Autistic children were never loved and are incapable of showing love. It is often judged that children who are autistic are that way because their “refrigerator mothers” failed to provide proper love and touch when they were infants. We know now that there is more than likely a genetic predisposition that makes children liable to be autistic, not post-birth interactions.
Myth #5 | Autistic children neither need nor want friends. Depending on where they are on the autism spectrum, autistic children are not inherently objective to the idea of having friends, rather, they may be shy or have a hard time communicating with their classmates. The autistic child may truly want a friendship or relationship, but could be incapable of fully expressing what they need or desire.
Interacting with autistic children can be challenging, but rewarding. As educators it is our responsibility to move forward and clear the air about the common misconceptions regarding autistic students, with the hope that one day autistic people will be seen as individuals and not their diagnosis. When we begin to look at the person, we can operate on a new level of understanding that allows us to educate the community and build awareness about the disorder.
The guest author David Miller is a freelance writer and passionate about education, technology in school and math games. His new discovery: learning games from Game Wrapper provides students, teachers and parents with new ways to engage and learn.