Confusion and myths about autism abound. This may be due to the fact that we still aren’t quite sure about the causes of autism, which leads people to substitute their own bizarre theories in place of scientific knowledge and explanation. Or maybe it’s due to the fact that lots of people still don’t know much about the disorder.
Some of these theories can be incredibly harmful, like the infamous “Refrigerator Mother” theory that historically resulted in children being wrongfully removed from their parents. Others can be so bizarre and “out there” that they are entertaining to hear about.
Reddit user Kevinw225 wanted to know some of the weirdest theories other Redditors have heard about autism. And the responses he got range from disturbing to hilarious. Here are some of them.
(Note: some responses have been lightly edited.)
10. Back to the Refrigerator Mother Theory…
“My sister once told me that I caused my daughter’s autism by not being emotionally connected enough when she was little (I had PPD).” —Reddit user IHeartDay9
9. Autistic People Came Up with This One…
“That autism is the next stage of evolution. There’s a group of autistic people in the UK who hardcore push this idea and they seem to be at The Autism Show and a few other autism events every year. They’re also not very nice people.” —Reddit user contents_may_vary
8. For the Last Time, Autism Is Not Contagious!
“Idiots who believe that their kid is going to ‘catch autism’ by talking and playing with my kids (both autistic, opposite ends of the spectrum). We have seen this in 2 different schools.” —Reddit user Hate_Feight
“Not quite a theory but I guess one stupid man’s own theory. There was an episode of Jeremy Kyle in the UK and the ex-boyfriend blamed the woman for giving their son ASD. He said she was bringing back multiple men to her house and that gave him autism.” —Reddit user stimpyette
6. Autism Is Transient
“I’ve heard people say that they think autism is transient like a cold because most of the time the person doesn’t look like they have the condition.” —Reddit user Skaro7
5. My Personal Favorite, Too, alexserthes
“My favorite was the person who said it was caused by liberals influencing healthcare in general and that birth control made adult women autistic.” —Reddit user alexserthes
4. Maybe He Doesn’t Read Enough
“My brother-in-law doesn’t think Autism exists. He blamed mine on ‘reading too many books.’ My niece had autism as well as some developmental problems, but according to him it was all because of us ‘treating her like a child.'” —Reddit user druminor
3. Please Take Documentaries With a Grain of Salt, Everyone…
“My mom has tried to argue with me multiple times that there is no genetic component to autism. She picked the idea up from some documentary she watched on Netflix or something, and now nothing will sway her opinion on it.” —Reddit user Liketheseashore
2. Well, at Least This One Is Positive…
Reddit user SkyPanther0 simply provided a link to an article called “23 Ways to Recognize Crystal Children.” The theory posits that some children, especially those diagnosed as being on the spectrum, are literal angels with a close connection to the spirit world. Symptoms like speech delays point to their transcendence of earthly realms, and they are believed to be well on their way to changing the world with their wisdom and love. Hey, at least this one sounds nice!
1. Lastly, a Theory from Someone in the Thread…
“Ironically, my favorite crazy theory comes from myself. I like to think of ourselves as the precursors of some kind of second human species, and that our actions are key to that species’ survival….TL;DR, I like to think of ourselves as reverse-neanderthals.” —Reddit user Foxmanded42