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13 Autism Myths Everyone Needs to Stop Believing

Reader's Digest Logo By Amy Boyington of Reader's Digest | Slide 1 of 13: Often, people think of individuals with autism as stone-faced humans who think, and react, very logically to situations without eliciting an emotional response (like the Vulcan Spock on Star Trek). Remember, though, that autism is a spectrum disorder, so individuals with autism can react very differently to situations. Some are able to express a range of emotions from excitement to anger, whereas others are more restricted in their expression. But individuals with autism can certainly recognize, and feel, emotions from others, regardless of how they express it. According to a <a href="https://doaj.org/article/026479188ddd403599f3d300e2fdd7af"> 2016 article in Pediatric Health, Medicine, and Therapeutics</a>, most children with autism are able to recognize emotions comparable to their same-age peers by matching them. They can often label more simple emotions, like happiness and sadness, as well. More abstract emotions, like surprise and fear, are more challenging for those on the spectrum to relate to, namely because those with autism may struggle to understand the significance of emotions, especially ones that are more nuanced. However, the ability to recognize and express emotion is present in most individuals on the spectrum, but they may need some <a href="https://doaj.org/article/235d60d9702e47e4bad816133176efeb">therapy involving targeted social interactions</a> to progress in emotional development and expression. These <a href="http://www.rd.com/advice/parenting/what-teachers-want-your-child-to-know/1">emotional development milestones</a> are important for every child and parent to start working on.

Myth: Individuals with autism are emotionless

Autism remains one of the most controversial and confusing disorders, which is why you shouldn't believe everything you hear about it. Just in time for World Autism Awareness Day, we're debunking the most common misconceptions.

Often, people think of individuals with autism as stone-faced humans who think, and react, very logically to situations without eliciting an emotional response (like the Vulcan Spock on Star Trek). Remember, though, that autism is a spectrum disorder, so individuals with autism can react very differently to situations. Some are able to express a range of emotions from excitement to anger, whereas others are more restricted in their expression. But individuals with autism can certainly recognize, and feel, emotions from others, regardless of how they express it. According to a 2016 article in Pediatric Health, Medicine, and Therapeutics, most children with autism are able to recognize emotions comparable to their same-age peers by matching them. They can often label more simple emotions, like happiness and sadness, as well. More abstract emotions, like surprise and fear, are more challenging for those on the spectrum to relate to, namely because those with autism may struggle to understand the significance of emotions, especially ones that are more nuanced. However, the ability to recognize and express emotion is present in most individuals on the spectrum, but they may need some therapy involving targeted social interactions to progress in emotional development and expression. These emotional development milestones are important for every child and parent to start working on.
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