Acceptance Begins with Breaking Down the Myths and Misconceptions

Here are just a few of the myths that exist around ASD and ADHD. They are harmful stories that perpetuate stigma, isolation, and pain.

MYTHS
TRUTHS

People with autism are anti-social

Some people with autism are happiest in their own company, but most want friends as much as anybody else

Autism is a mental illness

No, it’s a neurological condition that means your brain processes information differently

Autism is a boy’s condition

Girls often ‘present’ their autism somewhat differently from boys and may be under-diagnosed as a result.

Everyone with autism is pretty much alike

Nope. Autism is a condition, not a personality, and people who have it are as different from each other as everyone else.

Autistic people and people with ADHD are stupid

Autism and ADHD bring with them just as many exceptional abilities as challenges. Many people with autism and ADHD have normal to high IQs and some may excel at math, music, or another pursuit.

Autism and ADHD only affects children

Autistic children grow up to become adults with autism. ADHD used to be thought of as something that happened just in childhood. However, it is now recognized that ADHD can persist to adulthood for many people and can cause adults significant difficulties if not treated.

Autism means people can’t understand the emotions of others

Autism often affects an individual’s ability to understand unspoken interpersonal communication, so somebody with autism might not detect sadness based solely on one’s body language or sarcasm in one’s tone of voice. But, when emotions are communicated more directly, people with autism are much more likely to feel empathy and compassion for others.

There is no such medical condition as ADHD

ADHD is a chronic and pervasive neurological brain difference that is detected on brain scans and has decades of research behind it.

ADHD is just a sign of bad parenting

Parent shaming is seriously unproductive in any forum. Bad parenting does not cause ADHD; however, parenting techniques can improve some symptoms and worsen others.

ADHD can be cured

ADHD is a behavioral disorder rather than an illness so there is no medical “cure” although it can be treated. ADHD can be treated using medication or therapy, but a combination of both is often best. No medication can be a permanent cure for ADHD but may help someone with the condition concentrate better, be less impulsive, feel calmer, and learn and practice new skills.

ADHD is the result of a poor diet (cut out sugar and they will be fine)

If removing sugar from your diet magically “cures” your ADHD, then you don’t have ADHD. That said, diet, sleep, and exercise are all optimizers for brain function. We should all be mindful of these.

Everyone has a little ADHD

Everyone does not have a physical difference in their brain.