By Aaron Bouma
When people think of autism, sometimes they think of the television series The Good Doctor or the robotic talking Rain Man. What people don’t realize is these misconceptions harm autistic people and are stigmatizing and ablest. How do you cope with these misconceptions? How do you teach people that it’s wrong to judge autistic people based on what we see on TV or what we read online?
In the past we have talked about labels, misconceptions, and ablest language, which harms autistic people, and is incredibly stigmatizing to us. We have talked about Autism Awareness Month, which has been good for its time, but is in the modern-thinking sense out of date.
Why is Autism Awareness Month out of date?
Autism awareness has been an ongoing motion for year upon years. Today much of society is aware about autism but massive problems remain. People are aware of us. We are known, but what is not known are basic things that are easily overlooked but can be incredibly stigmatizing to autistic peoples. That is why I push, along with many other autistic persons Autism Acceptance Month. Society is aware of us, but they do not accept us for who we are. Not all the stigmas that are out in society are easily seen out an open.
Here is a list of some common misconceptions about autism and autistic people.
1. Autistic people lack empathy.
Some more widely known misconceptions of autism are that we do not have empathy. In the neurotypical mindset empathy can be viewed a certain way. Sometimes if we are seen as too involved or too open, we can even be viewed as being selfish or wanting attention when we are only trying to help and/or be included in society.
2. Autistic people don’t like intimacy or to be touched.
Many people believe autistic people do not like intimacy or touch ever. That is simply not the case. Each autistic person is completely different and has a different mindset.
3. Autistic people don’t date neurotypical people.
There is a big misconception that autistic people do not date or only date autistic people. Many autistic people are intimate and date neurotypical people.
4. Autistic people are not social.
Another misconception is that all autistic people are introverted and don’t like to be social at all. Absolutely false. That is far from the truth because I certainly am an extrovert. I can meet hundreds of people in an afternoon and still want to meet more. There are autistic extraverts.
5. Autistic people cannot change and adapt.
Autistic people are very much thought to be black-and-white thinkers, wanting things a certain way. This may be true but not always. Autistic people have needs but the neurotypical world needs to remember these are human needs.
Even though we can have rigid thinking, this can be from frustration, and or lack of understanding from others. Sometimes it’s from things we can’t control. Even though we do like routine it doesn’t mean we cannot adapt. In fact, we see neurotypical people as more rigid sometimes in thinking than we are, as well as black and white thinkers.
6. Autism is caused by environmental factors.
The misinformation about causes of autism are widely spread online and on social media groups. One of these misconceptions is that autism is mainly caused by environmental factors. Not all factors and causes of autism are known. Tons of scientific research continues every year into the causes of autism. Other major misconceptions to the causes are that vaccines cause autism this has been fully debunked and the doctor that lead that initiative discredited.
The misconceptions mentioned above can and are being corrected in their spread, but it takes all of us to correct those spreading misconceptions about Autistic people.
June 18 is Autistic Pride Day
Let’s spread acceptance this June 18th, for Autistic Pride Day (among many other days). We want acceptance; we need acceptance; we deserve acceptance.
Thank you for your continued support. I am Military specialist for Carleton County New Brunswick Canada. As for my business BOUMA Woodworks I build military models from scratch, tanks, aircraft, warships, rifles and so much more. I am currently building a military museum for my area.