All sources used in this article are linked directly in the text AND at the end of this post.
Autism is a word, label or diagnosis that is often times also associated with different misconceptions or myths.
If you’ve been following my 3-Part series on Autism Myths, you know that I’ve talked about some of the most frustrating myths and misconceptions associated with Autism. Aside from trying to provide you with information about Autism technically not being a mental illness in Part 1 and trying to raise awareness that being autistic does not equal being intellectually disabled in Part 2, I will take aim at Myth #3 in this last part.
They will grow out of Autism or be cured of Autism
OK, I must be honest, this myth is probably the most repeated misconception I have encountered thus far; whether the conversation is about our son or someone else’ child. This one comes up time and time again, over and over!
This myth technically addresses two different ideas: 1) a child can outgrow Autism and 2) a child can be cured from Autism. So let’s take a look, shall we?
Theoretically the misconception that a child can outgrow Autism is somewhat true in the sense that it does happen; HOWEVER, it is far more complicated than a child just simply growing out of it, as if it is another version of the Terrible Twos. While there is a small group of children who may outgrow Autism so to speak, it is important to look at the context as well. A child can be considered as autistic, or being on the Autism Spectrum, at an early age, but lose that diagnosis at a later time. But children who are said to have outgrown Autism are mostly among the group of children who were diagnosed with Autism at an early age AND received intensive evidence-based treatment!
So technically, these children didn’t just simply outgrow their Autism; there was some major work put in by the parents, the child and the providers. Yet, others may say that while an Autism diagnosis may not fit the child later in their life, they may still be autistic; but simply have the ability to mask their Autism very well.
Now, let’s take a look at the misconception about Autism cures. This is, in a way, similar to the process of outgrowing Autism. There is no known cure that takes away the Autism and rids the individual of it for the rest of their life. Even though a simple Google search may give you a slew of information about the newest alternative medicine that is supposed to help your child be cured of Autism, it does not seem to be the case. Much like the concept of outgrowing Autism seems to require treatments and early intervention to show these improvements, the same may be true for the idea of a cure.
Regardless of what others may chose to believe, mysterious things happen all the time, but is it realistic to think that MY child could be the one that outgrows his Autism; especially if it has taken so long for him to receive the diagnosis in the first place?
Check out my Resources post for Autism Awareness to get more information from experts and non-profits in the field.
What other ‘myths’ do you think should be addressed?
Disclosure: Everything I share is solely based on my personal experience and is for informational purposes only. This post contains affiliate links. For more information, please view my disclosure policy.
If you, or a loved one, are in a crisis or are in need for medical or mental health attention, please use the appropriate channels to get help.
How is Autism Treated? (n.d.). Autism Speaks. Retrieved from: https://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism/treatment
Treatment Options. (n.d.). Autism Society. Retrieved from: http://www.autism-society.org/living-with-autism/treatment-options/
Dr. Thomas Challman, M.D., FAAP. Can a Child Outgrow Autism Video. Retrieved from: https://www.verywell.com/can-a-child-outgrow-autism-260784
Rudy, L. J. (2016). Could My Child Outgrow Autism? Retrieved from: https://www.verywell.com/could-my-child-outgrow-autism-260591