Facts About Autism You Probably Don’t Know

Explore the lesser-known facts about autism in our insightful guide. Uncover surprising details that go beyond common knowledge, fostering a deeper understanding of the diverse spectrum of autism. As a spectrum disorder, autism is not as easy to understand as other neurological or developmental disorders given that every case varies from person to person. With a lot of misinformation and inconsistencies surrounding autism, we decided to make a post on some quick facts to help you understand this disorder more. 

Unveiling Uncommon Insights: Facts About Autism You Probably Don’t Know

Autism, a complex neurodevelopmental disorder, presents a spectrum of characteristics that go beyond common understanding. Delving deeper, here are some lesser-known facts that shed light on the nuanced nature of autism:

  1. Diverse Spectrum: Autism isn’t a one-size-fits-all condition. It manifests as a spectrum, ranging from high to low-functioning, with a wide variety of strengths and challenges.
  2. Late Diagnosis: In some cases, autism may not be diagnosed until later in life. Adults may discover they are on the spectrum, highlighting the evolving nature of diagnostic awareness.
  3. Unique Communication Styles: Communication differences in individuals with autism extend beyond verbal and non-verbal categories. Some may excel in written communication or find alternative ways to express themselves.
  4. Sensory Sensitivities: Many individuals with autism experience heightened sensitivities to sensory stimuli, such as lights, sounds, or textures. Understanding and accommodating these sensitivities is crucial for creating supportive environments.
  5. Special Interests: Individuals with autism often develop intense, focused interests in specific topics. These passions can become a source of expertise and fulfillment, contributing to their unique strengths.
  6. Overlapping Conditions: Autism frequently coexists with other conditions, such as ADHD or anxiety. Recognizing and addressing these co-occurring conditions is essential for holistic care.
  7. Gender Differences: Autism is often underdiagnosed in females due to differences in presentation. Understanding the distinct signs in girls and women is crucial for accurate identification.
  8. Hyper- and Hyposensitivity: Sensory sensitivities can vary, leading to either heightened (hypersensitivity) or reduced (hyposensitivity) response to stimuli. Tailoring environments to accommodate these sensitivities is key
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As we broaden our understanding of autism, acknowledging its diversity and embracing individual strengths, we move towards a more inclusive and supportive society for those on the spectrum.

Quick facts about autism

Before we go and debunk some of the most common myths you’ve heard about autism, here are a few quick facts to let you know about ASD.

  • Autism affects all ethnic and socioeconomic groups. However, minority groups tend to have fewer occurrences of autism. 
  • For every 44 children in the United States, one is diagnosed with ASD.
  • Autism is four times more prevalent in boys affecting 1 out of 27 compared to girls with a ratio of 1 out of 116. 
  • Forty-four percent of children with autism have a higher IQ than normal while 31 percent have a low IQ of below 70. The rest, which makes up 25 percent, are in the borderline range of the normal IQ range from 71 to 85. 
  • Autism is more common than diabetes and childhood cancer.
  • Early intervention is still the key to helping children with autism become independent functioning adults. 
  • Children with autism can be diagnosed as early as 18 months onwards.
  • Autism affects the whole body and its functions including diet, sleep, mood, and also behavior. 
  • There is currently no known cure for autism. 
  • Forty percent of people with ASD are nonverbal. 
  • Three to six out of 10 children with autism also suffer from Attention Deficient Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
  • Obesity is a common problem among children and people with autism

Now that you’re aware of these quick facts, let’s next dive into the most common autism myths and the truth about them. 

Surprising Facts About Autism

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurological and developmental condition that affects how individuals communicate, interact, and behave. While public awareness of autism is increasing, there are still many surprising facts about autism that many people may not know.

One of the most surprising autism facts is the diversity within the spectrum itself. Autism is not a one-size-fits-all condition; it affects individuals differently and to varying degrees. Some individuals with autism may have exceptional skills in specific areas such as mathematics, music, or art, a phenomenon known as “savant syndrome.” Meanwhile, others may struggle with basic social interactions and communication.

Another surprising fact is that autism is more common than many people realize. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 1 in 54 children in the United States is diagnosed with autism. This prevalence highlights the importance of understanding and supporting individuals with ASD in various aspects of life, including education and employment.

Early intervention can make a significant difference. Research has shown that early diagnosis and intervention can improve cognitive and social outcomes for children with autism. Therapies such as Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and speech therapy can be incredibly effective in helping children develop essential skills.

It might also be surprising to learn that there is no single known cause of autism. Genetics play a major role, but environmental factors may also contribute. The interplay between these factors is complex and still the subject of ongoing research.

Additionally, autism is not confined to any one demographic. It affects individuals across all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups. However, boys are about four times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls. This has raised questions about whether girls are being underdiagnosed or if they exhibit different symptoms that are less easily recognized.

Autism Facts: Eight Popular Myths Debunked

The best way to understand people with autism is to become aware of the facts surrounding the disorder. Below are the most common myths debunked about ASD and the truth you should know about them. 

Myth #1: Autistic people are mentally ill.

People with autism are twice more likely to suffer from a mental health disorder especially when they are not diagnosed early and given proper intervention. 

However, having autism does not make someone “mentally ill.” Instead, autism affects the brain structure since it is categorized as a neurological disorder. Autism also affects behavior patterns and can also lead to cognitive delays. 

Myth #2: Autism is only for children. 

Autism spectrum disorder affects all kinds of people no matter their race or age or socioeconomic status. 

On the other hand, autism is more commonly diagnosed in children especially when they show obvious symptoms of the disorder. Children with autism can grow up and become teens or even adults who are left undiagnosed unless someone professional or those familiar with autism can point out obvious signs of the disorder. 

This is where awareness of autism symptoms is very important. 

The most common symptoms of autism include:

  • Delayed speech
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Easily upset on minor changes, like a change in routines in schedules
  • Unexpected reactions to sensory stimuli like touch, sound, sight, smell, or taste
  • Difficulty showing or understanding people’s emotions
  • Hyper behavior
  • Fixation on certain objects, subjects, or activities
  • Repetitive behaviors like rocking, twirling, jumping, or hand-flapping
  • Seizures

If you think a child or someone you know has autism, it’s best to seek professional help to get the proper intervention.

Myth #3: Children with autism can grow out of it. 

Children with autism cannot outgrow the disorder since it’s not a phase or a stage. 

In fact, autism is a lifelong disorder. The only way someone with autism can manage their symptoms is through specific treatments like applied behavior therapy. Proper diet and exercise also play a role in managing autism. 

Since autism is a spectrum disorder, every individual’s needs are also unique and different. This is where early intervention is necessary to ensure that children with autism can grow and get the support and treatment they need to become self-reliant and independent adults. 

Myth #4: Children or people with autism are very smart (or not).

Autism signs and symptoms vary from person to person. Some children with autism exhibit language delays. Others are totally nonverbal. Some have difficulty interacting with their peers. Some individuals diagnosed with autism manage to function highly and live independently without requiring much support. Simultaneously, certain individuals demonstrate superior intelligence levels, notwithstanding their ASD diagnosis.

All in all, autism symptoms widely vary from one person to another. Since there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to autism, judging a person’s intellectual ability based on having the disorder will not be accurate.

Myth #5: People with autism are violent and dangerous. 

Most of the time, people or children with autism tend to be violent due to outside stressors that causes emotional distress. Sometimes, these violent tendencies are shown in the form of “tantrums” or other aggressive acts. In some cases, some people with autism resort to self-harm like banging their heads or biting their arms. 

Usually, an overload of outside sensory stimuli causes people with autism to suffer from emotional distress. The sensory overload they experience cause someone with autism to lash out or react violently. 

When this happens, proper intervention is very important to help the autistic child calm down in a stressful environment and situation. Here, the parent’s or guardian’s support and care play a crucial role in making the autistic child or person feel loved and secure.

Myth #6: People with autism cannot form relationships. 

One of the most common misconceptions among people with autism is that they don’t want to form relationships with others. 

The truth is, people with autism actually want to form relationships with their peers and family. The only problem is that social interactions are a big challenge for them since people on the spectrum have difficulty understanding social cues. 

This doesn’t mean that they don’t want to form any kind of relationship with other people. This is where offering emotional support, guidance, and understanding them on a different level can make a lot of difference for those on the spectrum. 

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Myth #7: Vaccines cause autism.

Previously, many believed that the vaccine component known as thimerosal was a primary cause for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This theory sparked much controversy and led to its eventual removal from vaccines.

Interestingly enough, rather than seeing a reduction in ASD cases sans thimerosal, the number of autism spectrum disorder diagnoses worldwide increased significantly. This unexpected outcome debunked the notion that vaccines are a cause of autism.

As the autism spectrum disorder has no known singular cause, it is a focus for numerous scientific research groups attempting to pinpoint the leading cause. Yet, despite their efforts, a definitive culprit remains elusive.

Whilst a solitary cause has not been established, several potential reasons have been identified for why a person might be diagnosed with autism. These reasons tend to fall within a combination of genetic and environmental factors, including but not limited to the following:

  • Genetic mutations or chromosomal abnormalities
  • Birth complications like preterm births or low birth weight
  • Heredity 
  • Children born to older parents 
  • Metabolic imbalance
  • History of maternal infections during pregnancy
  • Prenatal medications or exposure to chemicals
  • Poor maternal health

Myth #8: There is a cure for autism. 

Unfortunately, autism has no known cure. At the moment, people with autism manage their symptoms with the help of therapy and other similar treatment options. 

Since autism is a lifelong disorder, natal screening and evaluation are very important to provide early diagnosis and intervention.

Developmental specialists or pediatricians can perform screenings for autism as early as 18 to 24 months. Once professionals identify autism in a child, they can provide the appropriate treatment and support to manage and improve their symptoms over time.

Aside from therapy, proper diet, enough sleep, exercise, and most importantly emotional and moral support from close family members help children and people with autism cope best with their disorder. 

By knowing these autism facts, you can easily identify the myths surrounding the spectrum disorder and better understand people who have ASD. 

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