Genuine Autism Myths: Can Autism Really Disappear?

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Autism is a diagnosis still surrounded by debate and misunderstanding. There are numerous autism myths, and one prevalent belief is that autism can fade away with time. Today, I will explore some of the most common myths about autism and whether it is possible to rid oneself of this diagnosis.

The autism myths

For some Autism is just a personal trait. The little devil in me who just shows up whenever I least need him.

Autism is a diagnosis that profoundly impacts many lives. Yet, there persists a great deal of ignorance and misconceptions surrounding this neurodevelopmental condition. One prevalent autism myth suggests that individuals with autism can outgrow their diagnosis as they age. However, is it truly possible to “cure” or rid oneself of autism? How can individuals with autism navigate their challenges and strengths more effectively, and how can we support them in an accepting and understanding manner?

Another widespread myth about autism is that individuals with autism lack emotions or empathy. This is entirely untrue. Many with autism can experience and express emotions much like anyone else. However, they may find it challenging to interpret others’ emotions and express their own in ways others understand. Personally, I encounter this myth occasionally due to my difficulty in displaying emotions adequately. My wife notes changes in my emotional expression towards our dog compared to the rest of the family. While I have no different feelings for the dog, our communication requires a different approach.

Yet another myth suggests that individuals with autism are either intellectually limited or possess extraordinary talents. However, this is a misconception. Just like everyone else, individuals with autism have diverse strengths and weaknesses. While some may have specific talents or interests, others might face difficulties in certain areas. History teaches us that some of the most intellectual and talented individuals have had autism, as explored in a previous article on celebrities with autism.

Autism fact.

No, you can’t medicate Autism.

Can autism disappear? No, autism cannot be cured through diet or any other method. It is crucial to understand that autism is a lifelong neurodevelopmental condition. One lives with the diagnosis throughout life, but the impact varies from person to person. There is no cure for autism, and one cannot rid oneself of it. However, individuals with high-functioning autism can learn to manage their condition better as they age. By gaining more self-awareness and understanding of their surroundings, they can adapt to social situations and handle challenges and strengths more effectively. In this way, they camouflage their autism, making it seem as if it has been “cured.”

I have experimented with disclosing my autism to a colleague after working together for a while and received the response, “Oh, I could never have guessed.” Living with my challenges for almost 50 years, I have learned much about how the world functions and how to fit in and camouflage myself. I don’t succeed every day, but often, my bad days are perceived as just that, a bad day, rather than an autistic day. Managing challenges with structure, routines, and developed social skills masks autism symptoms. However, autism doesn’t vanish; one still retains special interests and faces other challenges, using tools like my calendar app and organized spaces in my life to camouflage my autism.

It is crucial to emphasize that even as individuals with autism learn to manage their challenges better, it does not mean their autism has disappeared. Autism is a part of their personality and identity, and it is essential to accept and understand this. I still struggle to maintain focus for extended periods and become immensely tired in chaotic and stimulating environments. I still find ways around my difficulties, but at times, it is more challenging than others.

What to do?

How can I help? What can I do?

Supporting individuals with autism in an accepting and understanding manner involves having a positive attitude and being open to learning about autism. Here are some tips on how to support individuals with autism effectively:

  • Recognize the uniqueness of each person with autism, focusing on their strengths and interests.
  • Show empathy by trying to understand their situation and being patient with their difficulty in expressing emotions.
  • Be clear and consistent in communication, providing advance notice of any changes in routines.
  • Utilize support tools like social stories, pictograms, and visual schedules to facilitate communication and understanding.
  • Allow time and space for individuals with autism to manage stressful situations. Be patient.

Understanding various communication styles is crucial, as individuals with autism may struggle with facial expressions and body language but excel in alternative communication methods. Educating oneself about autism and its diverse challenges and strengths enables better support for individuals with autism in an accepting and understanding manner.

Autism remains a diagnosis subject to debate and misunderstanding. By dispelling common myths about autism and addressing whether autism can disappear, we hope to increase awareness and understanding of this neurodevelopmental condition. It is essential to accept individuals with autism for who they are and learn more about effective ways to support them.


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