13 Autism Myths Everyone Needs to Stop Believing
Myth: Individuals on the spectrum are intellectually impaired
With the “savant” myth comes an equally incorrect yet very common myth that individuals on the spectrum aren’t as intelligent as typically developing individuals. According to Educating Children with Autism by the National Research Council, many children on the autism spectrum are able to compensate for things they struggle with using other abilities they do very well.
Children with excellent visual memory, for example, may be able to quickly pick up on words on flashcards that a caregiver uses for social behavior, even if they can’t verbally communicate. Dr. Hagerty explains that this myth may be a result of our changing society, which puts a strong emphasis on social and emotional cognitive ability. “Most modern cultural roles require a combination of intelligences, and if we do not necessarily have to be able to dance, play violin, or write poetry to succeed in life, the ability to understand emotions and feelings is almost a must-have of any social expansion,” says Dr. Hagerty.