5 common myths about autism


Parents with children who have been newly diagnosed with autism or those going through the diagnostic process often turn to the internet in search of answers. While this is understandable there is so much misinformation and misconceptions about autism floating around there. It can be difficult for people to know which sites to trust or which advice to take. People believe many weird and not so wonderful things in an attempt to explain the situation they find themselves in. Beware Dr Google and the (sometimes) well-intentioned advocates who might be pointing you down a garden path.

Picture of mother kissing son.

Myth #1 Autism is caused by vaccines

Absolutely not. This myth seems to crop up every now and then and needs to be beaten back down with a stick. There is no scientific evidence that suggests vaccinations cause autism, but still, it lingers on in the corners of the internet. These claims are not supported by a vast body of scientific research.

Picture of therapist playing with kids.

Myth #2 Autism is caused by bad parenting

Again - no. This strange theory seems to have sprung from the 1950’s misconception (called Refrigerator Mothers’) that suggested autism was a result of having a mother who was “lacking emotional warmth”. Autism is not caused by something that parents have done or even have control over. Nor is it something that is brought about by a lack of discipline.

Picture of therapist using blocks to play with little girl.

Myth #3 Children with autism can’t learn

Definitely not! Children with autism can learn, it is just a matter of learning in a different way. Some children may take a little longer to understand concepts and retain skills, but the right teaching methods, a structured program and lots of practice can be life changing!

Picture of daughter giving dad a kiss.

Myth #4 Autism is a childhood condition

Autism Spectrum Disorder is a condition that will affect a person their entire lives. It is not able to be ‘unlearned’ or cured. However, this doesn’t mean that nothing can be done to help a person who is on the autism spectrum reach their best outcome in life.

Picture of little girl and therapist during a therapy session.

Myth #5 Only boys have autism

While autism is more common among boys (affecting 1 in 42) it does still affect 1 in 189 girls as well.