Learn about Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and the myths and
stereotypes that surround ASD, as we move towards a more aware and
inclusive Singapore for the autism community.
What is Autism?
Autism, or clinically referred to as “Autism Spectrum Disorder” (ASD), is a lifelong neurodevelopmental disorder that affects the way a person communicates and relates to people around them.
Fun Fact! Autism comes from ‘autos’, the Greek word for ‘self’, and a person with autism is often referred to as someone who lives in a world of his own.
What causes Autism?
Research shows that autism can be caused by a variety of conditions that affect brain development, which may occur before, during or after birth.
Research suggests that a biological correlation affecting the parts of the brain that process language and information coming in from the senses could be the cause or combination of causes for autism. Other research findings suggest that there may be an imbalance in certain chemicals in the brain. Genetic factors may sometimes be involved in certain families. In reality, what we know is that autism may develop from a combination of several “causes”.
Unfortunately, although there are many theories, no one fully knows the definitive answer to this question.
Stereotypes and Myths of Autism
All individuals with autism spectrum disorder
have special talents or ‘savant’ skills.
It is estimated that 10% of individuals with autism spectrum disorder may have special abilities in areas like music, art, mathematical calculations, memory and manual dexterity. The majority however, may have areas of high performance that relate to their special interests or obsessions. These skills are often referred to as ‘splinter skills’, as they are often not consistent with skills in other areas of development.SEE THE MYTH
People with autism cannot talk.REVEAL THE TRUTH
Communication is more than talking. Some students with autism may develop speech seemingly effortlessly, but may require help to communicate appropriately with their peers. Others may require assistance to communicate their basic needs and wants, using a combination of words, gestures, and augmentative communication systems such as Picture Exchange Communication System(PECS).SEE THE MYTH
People with autism do not have feelings and thus are unable to show affection.REVEAL THE TRUTH
People with autism can and do give affection. However, due to differences in sensory processing and social understanding, the display of affection may appear different from typical people. Understanding and acceptance of these differences is the key.SEE THE MYTH