Today, nearly 1 in 54 children are diagnosed with autism
spectrum disorder, a deeply complex developmental disability that is usually
diagnosed during early childhood. While those affected by autism know full well
the complex nature of this developmental disability, the public still holds
misconceptions about autism, its characteristics and causes. In honor of National
Autism Acceptance Month, we’d like to take the opportunity to lay out the
basics of autism spectrum disorder and, more importantly, dispel the widely
held myths about this complex developmental disability.
What It Is
The Autism Society
defines autism spectrum disorder as a “lifelong developmental disability that
typically appears during early childhood and can impact a person’s social
skills, communication, relationships, and self-regulation.” They further define
autism as a “spectrum condition” meaning that its affects vary by the person.
Some signs of autism, which is usually diagnosed in the
early childhood years, include being nonverbal or having some sort of trouble
with verbal communication, a lack of interpersonal social skills and extreme or
lower sensitivity to everyday stimuli.
What It Is Not
First and foremost, autism is not the same for every
individual who is diagnosed and there are many forms of supports that can help
people with autism develop the social, verbal, and interpersonal skills they
Autism is not defining of the individual, rather something
the individual has. A popular myth about autism is that those on the spectrum
cannot possibly live the same fulfilling lives of the rest of the population.
Indeed, there are many science-based therapy strategies that are true
game-changers for individuals with autism.
And finally, we feel compelled, especially now, to help
dispatch the myth that autism is caused by vaccines. It is not. This widely
held belief is simply not backed up by science. This year, it is even more
important to dispel that myth once and for all.
support individuals with autism
At Bethesda, we are committed to helping people with
intellectual and developmental disabilities, like autism, live their best lives
possible. We offer ABA Therapy
from a team of highly skilled clinicians, employment
coaching and support, as well as programs like Bethesda College
where students with autism and other disabilities can realize their higher
education goals and develop interpersonal skills on a college campus.
We encourage those seeking support to learn more about our
services and to read up on resources from organizations like the Autism Society.
This month, let’s celebrate those with autism spectrum
disorder by taking the time to understand what autism is and what it is not and
how we can all make the world a better place for people with autism by
educating ourselves on the issue.