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The following are myths about autism. A "myth" as considered on this page is a false statement that is believed to be true.

Myth: All autistic individuals are metally retarded; or all low functioning autistic individuals are mentally retarded.

This is not the case. It is reported that 75% of autistic people are mentally retarded, and people generally associate the word "autism" with the word "retarded". But in reality many autistic people have average or above average intelligence (I am autistic and have an IQ around 150).

Another myth is that all low functioning autistic people are mentally retarded (and that all autistics with average or high intelligence are high functioning). Because of the communications problems resulting from autism, autistic people oftan score lower on intelligence tests than their actual IQ scores are. This could mean some (lower functioning) autistic people could score IQ's in the mentally retarded range, but actually have IQ's scores in the average or above average range. I have heard that there have been many situations where an autistic person has scored low on an IQ test, then after receiving facilitated communication scored much higher.

The statistics show the average IQ of autistic people to be lower than it actuallly is not only because many autistic people score IQ's lower than their actual IQ score is, but also because many autistic people who score lower on IQ tests are more likely to be diagnosed. Higher functioning autistics, who usually score closer to their actual IQ score than lower functioning autistics, are not as obviously autistic and oftan go undiagnosed.

Myth: All autistic individuals are like "Rainman" or are "idiot savants".

Rainman was a good example of an autistic individual, and I thought it was a very good and accurate movie, but it was only one example. Assuming all autistic people are like Rain Man because it was a good movie about autism, would be assuming that every 'normal' person was exactly like Jerry Seinfeld. I can understand why the public would think all autistic people are clones of Rain Man, since it is the only time most of them have seen autism in their life. Autism is hard to define, very complex and effects every autistic person in very different ways. Some autistic people very much stand out and some seem like "normal" people. Autism is a neurological condition that generally effects language, social, and communication skills.

Myth: Autistic people have no sence of humor

I know this isn't true. People tell me I have a sence of humor. I don't know exactly why people beleive this. It is probably because they express their humor differently than most people do. I am told that I have a great sense of humor. A good website to visit is the autism picture page, or the Institute for the Study of the Neurologically Typical.

Myth: Autistic people have no emotion

This myth probably exists because of the different ways autistic people express emotions, and difficulties communicating emotions. I know I have emotion. Some emotions between autistic people experience only differ in the ways that emotions of non-autistic people differ. Some emotions are experienced more in autistic people than in most non-autistic people (such as anxiety, and many more, positive, negitive, and neutral emotions). Some emotions are probably experienced less in autistic people than in non-autistic people. All emotions are still present in autistic people. Happieness, sadness, depression, joy, love, hate, anger, rage, are all there.

Myth: Autistic people don't have sexual feelings

Autistic people do have sexual feelings. They can also fall in love, get married, and have kids. However, their difficulty in knowing how to behave in social situations may make them unable to know how to approach someone or give them difficulty in a relationship.

Myth: Anyone who can talk cannot possibly be autistic.

Although a lot of autistic people cannot speak, a lot of autsitic people can speak. Those that can speak are usually considered to be high functioning, while those who cannot speak are usually considered low functioning.

Myth: Autistic people can't see the world in color.

Y e a h r i g h t !

Page Created: 1999 September 21
Page Updated: 2004 April 10


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