13 Autism Myths Everyone Needs to Stop Believing
Myth: Autism is an epidemic
According to the Autism Science Foundation, 1 in 68 children in the United States is now diagnosed with autism, compared to 1 in 10,000 in the 1980s. These statistics seem mind-boggling and have led to the myth that autism is an epidemic disorder that’s rapidly spreading among children.
But this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, it wasn’t until the 1980s that autism became more specifically defined through actual autism diagnosis criteria in a reference manual for doctors known as the DSM-V.
Before that, most individuals with autism were incorrectly diagnosed with schizophrenia or similar neurological disorders. Now schools and early intervention programs have a variety of screenings to evaluate children at very young ages, catching problems early on that previously weren’t detected until a child went to school. Psychologist Marisela Huerta told theguardian.com, “We can’t dismiss the numbers. But we can’t interpret it to mean more people are getting the disorder.”