Common Misconceptions About Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder that is characterized by two types of behaviors: communication and social skill deficits, and restricted or repetitive behaviors.

Recent years have seen a change in the way psychiatric professionals view autism. Children with autism-related behaviors were originally diagnosed with one of a variety of developmental disorders—including autism, Asperger’s disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder (CDD), and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS). ASD is now viewed as one diagnosis characterized by a range of symptoms and behaviors of varying severity. ASD consists of all these earlier diagnoses.

Common misconceptions about Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Autism is rare.

Autism is more common than you may think. 1 in 66 Canadians is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. There are approximately 135,000 individuals on the autism spectrum in Ontario alone.

ASD is referred to as a “spectrum disorder” because an individual’s strengths and challenges can fall anywhere along a spectrum. Individuals can require a lot or little to no external support.

Autism doesn’t require treatment.

While ASD is not a visible disability, it does not mean it may not require treatment or support. The average lifetime health cost for someone with ASD can reach up to $3 million. With the proper support and time, children with autism can develop the skills to be more independent and can lead healthy, productive lives.

Vaccines cause autism

This is a myth. There is no scientific evidence that Autism is caused by vaccinations.

ASD is a more severe form of Asperger’s.

Recently, all autism-related disorders that fall within this category have been combined into one disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder. ASD is referred to as a “spectrum” disorder because an individual’s strengths and challenges can fall anywhere along a spectrum.

ASD is a complex life-long disorder that impacts not only the person with ASD but their families, caregivers, and communities.

Support ASD services through #TheInfinityChallenge

The SAAAC Autism Centre builds inclusive communities through culturally responsive autism practices and accessible programming. SAAAC’s 6th Annual Walk-a-thon is an interactive virtual fundraising campaign focused on promoting health and wellness. This year I am proud to be taking part. I will be running a 4 km route every week in the infinity symbol shape (the universal symbol for autism). I will map out my route using an app and share them with you so that you too can take #TheInfinityChallenge with me. Let’s spread awareness and acceptance of ASD together.

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