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Since the 1970s, National Autism Awareness Month has been celebrated in April, which in the United States is a special opportunity to promote education about the disease. This bioneurological disorder affects 1 in 88 boys (boys four times more than girls), according to data from the Autism Society, an association dedicated to improving the lives of all people who suffer from this disease.
For many, knowledge about autism is limited to stereotypes like that of the character played by Dustin Hoffman in the movie Rain Man. But autism, which is a spectrum disorder, has many ways to manifest. There are many resources available in Spanish to learn about autism, its causes, symptoms, and treatments.
Here we debunk some of the most common myths about the condition.
Misconceptions about autism and the people who have it
1. They do not feel or express emotions. Autism does not prevent people from feeling, but rather causes them to communicate and transmit their emotions differently. Although sometimes they are not able to detect a mood in the tone of voice or body language, they do perceive it when they are communicated more directly.
2. They are the consequence of a bad upbringing. In the 1950s it was suggested that autism was caused by mothers' emotional coldness, but that theory has long since been discarded.
3. Autism has no cure. Although there is no radical cure, there are many treatments and therapies available, which are more effective the earlier the disease is detected. Scientists are also constantly discovering new factors that cause autism, thanks to new studies that are often published. Unfortunately, most health insurance does not cover autism treatments.
4. They are geniuses in math, music, or other fields. Between 5 and 10% of autistic people have extraordinary intellectual abilities.
5. They suffer from mental disabilities. Autism may have certain limitations, but they can also present exceptional talents. In many cases they have a normal or high intelligence quotient, but may show disinterest in the tests that are carried out to demonstrate it. On the other hand, many of the autistic ones also suffer from gastrointestinal affections and allergies.