10 MORE Myths People with Autism Are Tired of Hearing

5. Kids with autism having a meltdown just need a good spanking.

This myth is what fuels a lot of nasty notes and rude, unnecessary comments from strangers. A child having a meltdown is not trying to get something they want; they are overloaded and have completely lost control. They cannot help it. In other words, it is not a behavioral issue that deserves punishment—it is a neurological issue that deserves compassion. No amount of spankings will stop a meltdown, and in fact, they will probably make it even worse.

4. The divorce rate of couples with a child on the spectrum is 80 percent.

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Did you know this dramatic and terrifying statistic has no data to back it up whatsoever? It is an urban legend that has been touted as fact. In fact, studies have found little to no difference in the divorce rates of neurotypical versus autism families. And even if it is higher in autism families, it is a much more minor difference than the myth suggests—one study estimated 23.5 versus 13.8 percent. That’s only a 9.7 percent difference.

3. All people with autism are asexual.

While it’s true that the autism population has a higher percentage of asexual individuals than the neurotypical population, that certainly doesn’t mean everyone is. Many people with autism are sexual in some way—whether that’s heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, etc.

2. People with autism cannot lie.

While we largely fight against stigma and lack of acceptance in the disability community, there’s another insidious extreme we need to avoid: idealizing people with disorders like autism. Yes, people with autism are oftentimes wonderful. Yes, autism is the reason they sometimes engage in challenging behaviors. No, that doesn’t mean people on the spectrum are perfect. People with autism are every bit as human as everyone else, meaning they can and do possess all our human flaws and imperfections. And while people with autism tend to be bluntly honest—sometimes to a fault—that certainly doesn’t mean they can’t lie.

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1. People with autism don’t want and cannot have meaningful relationships.

Many people with autism do want friendships and relationships, but their social struggles make it inherently difficult for them. Even so, that doesn’t mean they can’t have close relationships because plenty do. People with autism, for example, can and do get married—both to others on the spectrum and to neurotypical partners.

What autism myth are you tired of hearing?

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A. Stout received a Bachelor of Arts in Writing through Grand Valley State University, graduating Magna Cum Laude in 2015. In addition to being a passionate autism advocate, she is a member of various fandoms, a study abroad alumna, and an animal lover. She dreams of publishing novels and traveling all over the world someday.
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