I know someone with autism, so I understandNicole Fornabaio/Rd.com, enterlinedesign/shutterstock
Outsiders to autism often believe that autistic individuals are, generally very similar, or exhibit similar behaviors. However, as most people on the spectrum, or people who work with those on the spectrum, will tell you, there is no set standard for what autism looks like. Maureen Lacert, a behavior analyst, special education teacher, and Director of Nashoba Learning Group, told boston.com, “If you know one person with autism, you know one person with autism. They’re all such unique individuals. They’re unique in their learning. They’re unique in their behaviors. It requires a unique approach in order to best teach any individual on the spectrum.” These are common signs of autism to look for in a child.
Here’s what to say instead: I know autism can be so different in people. Can you tell me about how it affects your child? I’d love to know more.
Autism wasn’t as common a few years agoNicole Fornabaio/Rd.com, enterlinedesign/shutterstock
It’s true that autism is more commonly diagnosed than it was just a decade or so ago. According to autismspeaks.org, autism was diagnosed in about 1 in 166 people a decade ago, and is now diagnosed in 1 in 68. However, it’s far from a made-up disorder. Dr. Oksana Hagerty sheds some light on this topic, as an educational and developmental psychologist who also serves as a learning specialist at Beacon College in Leesburg, Florida. “More research certainly led to a better understanding of the condition. But social relativity also plays an important role as better economic conditions elevated the perception of the status of neurodevelopmental disorders such as ASD and specific learning disorders (SLD).” Dr. Hagerty explains that, in other economically disadvantaged countries, these types of disorders are considered “‘luxury’ level disabilities” because they aren’t equipped with the resources necessary for diagnoses.
Here’s what to say instead: I’ve heard autism is on the rise. I’d love to help you bring awareness to the disorder so more children and adults can get the help they need.
That’s why I don’t get my child vaccinatedNicole Fornabaio/Rd.com, enterlinedesign/shutterstock
The possible link between autism and the vaccinations children get before the age of 5 began because of a fraudulent research paper by Andrew Wakefield. Since then, many parents have elected not to vaccinate their children, for fear of vaccinations raising the risk of their children developing autism, and some are quick to pass judgment on those who do, especially if their child has been diagnosed on the spectrum. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention counters that there have been legitimate studies conducted that conclude no link between vaccines and the development of autism. The studies have looked at everything from the antigens (the compounds that sort of poke the immune system to get a response) to the ingredients in vaccines, and the results have been the same. Here are other common myths related to vaccines.
Here’s what to say instead: I may have different beliefs about vaccines, but I know every parent has a responsibility to do what he or she feels is best for the child.