Myth: Asperger’s Syndrome is “Mild Autism”…..There is nothing “mild” about autism.
Truth: Asperger’s is a neurobiological disorder which has a profound affect on basic life skills. Individuals with Asperger’s struggle immensely to overcome their deficits. They must learn much of what others learn intuitively; what others learn without even trying. To the observer, Asperger’s may “appear” milder than Classical Autism; however, for the individual living with the disorder, their struggles are not “mild”.
Myth: Asperger’s is caused by poor parenting……Asperger’s is not the result of the way one is brought up.
Truth: Current research has determined that there is a genetic component. Parents of children with Asperger’s often possess many Aspergerish traits. For example, a father may be preservative and a mother display rigidity. The child diagnosed with Asperger’s has the combination of traits from both parents that combine together to fit the Asperger’s diagnosis.
Myth: Those with Asperger’s Syndrome are uncaring and rude and unable to empathize with others.
Truth: Often, because of their inability to perceive other’s intentions and perspectives and their impaired capacity to read the unspoken gestures and nuances in everyday social communication, individuals with Asperger’s do not respond or do not respond appropriately. This is not the result of not caring but rather the result of not responding to what they do not *see*. Communication is a two way street. We cannot expect someone to recognize, acknowledge and respond to that which they are unaware of.
Myth: Some people with Asperger’s don’t make eye contact and ignore people.
Truth: It is true that some individuals with Asperger’s make limited eye contact or their eye contact does not appear meaningful; however, this is not the result of making a choice to ignore someone but rather a result of an impaired “theory of mind”.
Myth: Behavior modification and punitive measures are appropriate techniques to use with individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome.
Truth: When an individual with Asperger’s displays inappropriate or “bad” behavior it is rarely the result of a willful choice on their part but more likely the result of their misperceptions in the social milieu or simply a reaction to sensory overloads. The most effective treatment is using positive measures accompanied by techniques aimed to increase the individual’s awareness and understanding of their behaviors and the effects on those around them. Explanations should be concrete and logical and put in the context of how appropriate behaviors will benefit them personally.
Myth: People with Asperger’s lack imagination.
Truth: People with Asperger’s typically possess vivid, creative and unique imaginations. During play, the imagination of children with Asperger’s is often devoid of imaginative expressions that would require taking another person’s perspective or point of view. For example, they might not *pretend* to be another person because that would require an ability to see things from that persons perspective. In this regard their expressions of imagination are not typical.
Myth: Individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome have superior IQ scores.
Truth: Some people with Asperger’s Syndrome have high IQ scores but many more have average IQ scores and struggle with learning disabilities.