Autism remains one of the most controversial and confusing disorders, which is why you shouldn’t believe everything you hear about it. Just in time for World Autism Awareness Day, we’re debunking the most common misconceptions.
BY AMY BOYINGTON
Why is autism still so confusing?
There’s a reason that a puzzle piece is the symbol of autism. The neurological disorder is still incredibly confusing to caregivers, medical professionals, and even individuals with autism. Since 1999, the puzzle piece ribbon has represented the Autism Society, showing the complexity of the spectrum disorder. Oksana Hagerty, PhD, a developmental psychologist at Beacon College in Leesburg, Florida, explains, “autism may be confusing to both ordinary people and professionals because some of its behavioral characteristics remind those of other, more common and better described conditions, such as ADHD, anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and oppositional defiant disorder.” Additionally, it wasn’t until more recently that public and scholarly interest has shifted from understanding how the brain works with more concrete concepts, like math and communication, to how it fares with more abstract concepts that affect individuals with autism, like social and emotional intelligence. With more studies, though, comes more confusion and myths, as experts continue to delve further into the mystery that is autism. So in honor of World Autism Awareness Day on April 2, we’re debunking several myths surrounding autism that have been debunked time and time again—and it’s time to finally lay them to rest.