Common misconceptions about autism - Avenues Group
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Common misconceptions about autism

Wednesday 23rd of March 2016

To mark World Autism Awareness Day, Regional Director Mickey Gray dispels five false ideas about the condition …


The rainbow-colored infinity symbol represents the diversity of the autism spectrum as well as the greater neurodiversity movement.


1 “Everyone with autism is a genius or has a special ability”

Contrary to popular belief, often influenced by popular culture like the movie Rain Man, not every person with autism is a genius. They don’t necessarily have a special ability. That’s not to say that this isn’t true of some people with autism, just not everyone.

2 “People with autism don’t like social contact”

Lots of people think that because someone has autism, they won’t socialise and they don’t like to. This isn’t true; many people with autism enjoy social contact. Sometimes they may not understand social nuances, or facial expressions, but they still enjoy socialising.

3 “Only males have autism”

Although autism is more common in males, it is not exclusive to men. This is a good place to find out more about gender and autism.

4 “People with autism can’t hold down a job”

This is completely untrue. Lots of people with autism have jobs. Like anyone else, in the right environment with the right support, people with autism can thrive at work.

5 “Autism only affects children and young people”

Autism is a lifelong condition and it affects people of all ages, not just children and young people.

Getting a formal autism diagnosis can mean access to the right support, and an explanation for why certain things are so difficult. There are many online ‘autism tests’ but these cannot guarantee accuracy, and are no replacement for a formal diagnosis.

The National Autistic Society has information about the diagnostic process for children and adultswhat to do following a diagnosis, and diagnostic terms and criteria.