Debunking Misconceptions Surrounding Autism Spectrum Disorder

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With every health condition, comes misapprehension and misinterpretation of the cause, symptoms, cure and general knowledge of the health issue. In this article, we sink deep into Autism as we deflate all the falsified information about this disability.

Autism, also known as Autism Spectrum Disorder(ASD), is a neurological developmental disorder caused by a combination of genetic and non-genetic or environmental factors.

It is described as a developmental disorder because it is witnessed mostly during the first two years of life. Many children portray symptoms of ASD by 12 months or 18 months.

Some even earlier than that. In addition, it is a spectrum condition because it has a broad disparity in the type and severity of symptoms.

Autism affects about 4% of the Kenyan population. It is five times more prevalent in boys than it is in girls. Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder is approximated to be at 1 in 110 people.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the most common symptoms of Autism are:

Delayed language and movement skills

Social interaction problems

A pattern of repetitive behavior

Limited interestsEcholalia (Repeating words and phrases many times)

There are many misconceptions about autism. All of which are very misinforming and misleading. Nonetheless, we are able to categorically collect and decipher the factual truths about the condition.

Autism is a disease.

It is known that Autism is a lifelong condition which affects a person’s ability to socially interact and communicate. However, autism is not a disease. It is a neurological disorder. It is not an illness not is it a medical condition. It affects the developmental abilities of a person.

Vaccines cause Autism.

Studies have shown that there is no proof of vaccines being the cause of Autism. Dozens of research projects and studies have tried to find a link between vaccines and autism. They have all been futile efforts.

There is no one cause of this disorder. It is believed that both genes and environmental factors may be behind it.

Autism can be cured

As aforementioned, autism is not a medical condition nor is it a disease. Therefore, there is no medication to cure it. Still, there are attempts put in place to maximize a person’s functionality while reducing autism symptoms.

If one is autistic, they will be autistic their whole life. Nonetheless, they can lead an absolutely normal and independent life.

Autism means intellectually impaired.

This is a major misinterpretation of autism. Being autistic does not mean that a person is unable to understand things. While a person with autism spectrum disorder might understand things at a slower pace than others, they are still able to come around and understand.

Autism is caused by bad parenting.

There is no evidence whatsoever that suggests that poor parenting styles lead to autism. In the 1950’s, it was strongly believed that distant parents who are cold to their children lead to them developing autism. In contrast, autism has nothing to do with parental formats.

These are a few of the myths that go around about Autism. It is a personal responsibility to be informed accurately about this developmental disorder. Now, we know better. Hence, let us do better for our brothers and sisters who live with autism.

BY CHRISTINE OMONDI

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