6 Myths About ASD & ADHD Busted

In this article, we’ll be discussing some common myths regarding Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). It is important to clear out these misconceptions about the people on the spectrum so that we can accommodate them with all due respect and compassion. So let us try to get the basics about our fellows on the spectrum right!

Myth 1: Autism is a mental illness

Truth: Autism is actually a neurological condition that leads some people to process information differently than the rest of us. Mental illnesses are health conditions that can often be cured. People with autism are born with this condition and it stays a part of them for the rest of their lives. Autistic people may or may not experience mental health problems just like anyone else.

Myth 2: ADHD can be cured

Truth: ADHD is a behavioral disorder rather than an illness so medically there is no “cure” that could completely rid a person of ADHD but a combination of medication and therapy can be used to aid people with ADHD and help them with concentration.

Myth 3: People with ASD or ADHD are unintelligent

Truth: There seems to be no correlation between intelligence and these conditions. People with ASD or ADHD usually possess normal to high IQs. These disorders may bring as many exceptional abilities with them as challenges. Many autistic people excel at math, music, or other pursuits. Autism is a developmental disorder, not an intellectual one so it may affect the way these people interact, it may lead to some sensory issues but does not affect intelligence. Children with ADHD may produce poor results in school due to their struggle with lack of concentration but that can also be resolved with support and treatment.

Myth 4: People with Autism lack empathy and cannot recognize emotions

Truth: Contrary to popular belief, people with autism can and do experience a full range of human emotions. Though they experience and express those emotions in ways much different from neuro-typical individuals. This struggle to identify and articulate emotion is one of the characteristic symptoms of autism and may lead to the development of a condition called alexithymia [literally meaning; no words for feeling, the inability to describe emotions], which thwarts their ability to understand and process their emotions also affects their ability to communicate those emotions to others.

Myth 5: All Autistic people are savants

Truth: A savant, by definition, means someone with a skill that’s exceptional by the standards of the general population. Though many people with autism show exceptional skills in one or another pursuit, it is not a must for every autistic person to be a savant.

Myth 6: ASD and ADHD are similar

Truth: Although both the disorders share many of their symptoms, the two are distinct conditions. Autism spectrum disorders are a series of related developmental disorders that can affect language skills, behavior, socializing, and the ability to learn. ADHD is a common condition that can impact how well you concentrate, stay still, or think before you act.

Autistic children may get hyper-fixated on things that they like and struggle to focus on activities they dislike whereas children with ADHD avoid things or activities that require them to focus. Early diagnosis can help with treatment so it’s important that you keep an eye on how your child pays attention and/or interacts.


Common Myths section, Autism and ADHD Family Handbook

Find here: https://www.kent.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/116907/Autism-and-ADHD-family-handbook-common-myths-section.pdf

Do people with Autism Have ‘Normal’ Empathy & Emotions?

Find here: https://www.elemy.com/studio/autism/empathy-and-emotions/

What are the types of Autism Spectrum Disorders?

Find here: https://www.webmd.com/brain/autism/autism-spectrum-disorders

ADHD and Autism

Find here: https://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/childhood-adhd/adhd-or-autism


Wardah Khan is an in-house writer at Perspective.

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