Myths about Autism

There are many myths about autism that have been helped along by portrayals in the media such as the hit movie “Rainman” as well as news reports and documentaries.  However, many of these sources did not get their information directly from autistics.  They constantly rely on so called “experts” who claim they know all about autism yet lack scientific data to back up their claims and use cognitions of autism that are from the past.  These individuals advocate that autistics can’t speak and if they can they aren’t really autistic, that autistics always have a special talent, and have a very small spectrum onto which they put autistic persons.  It is important to look through the facts and realize what evidence is backed up by science and who the information is coming from.  After all, shouldn’t the real experts be those who have autism?

Here are a couple misconceptions:

Cold “Refrigerator” Parents make their children Autistic:  There is no data that in any way supports that parents can cause autism through there parenting styles.  What is more important is that it has been shown that warm and loving parents also have autistic children.  This theory has put a lot of guilt and pain on autistic parents which should be alleviated as soon as possible.

Autism is caused by vaccines: The following are in vaccines injected into infants that are thought to have toxic effects on infants:  thimerosal (nearly 50 percent mercury), aluminum phosphate (toxic and carcinogenic), phenols (corrosive to skin and toxic), aluminum salts (corrosive to tissue and neurotoxic), methanol (toxic), 2-pheoxyethanol (toxic), live viruses and a host of unknown components considered off-limits as trade secrets.  Thimerosal is currently at the top of the list of possible culprits for causing autism.  The investigation is  fueled by the fact that this chemical was removed from many products coming in contact with infants and pregnant mothers in order to reduce the amount of mercury they are exposed to.   There have also been neurodevelopmental links between thimersol exposures according to a variety of studies.  It was found that infants should be getting no more than .3 micrograms of mercury based on their body weight but instead they are getting 12.5 micrograms through these early vaccinations.  However, it is also noted that they are not sure whether this overexposure to mercury could be causing autism.  Because there is only a link between thimerosal, mercury and neurodevelopmental disorders, there is not enough cause to say that these vaccines are causing autism.  It is not currently even proven what neurological differences cause autism (i.e. autism could cause neurological differences) and it is not proven what neurological changes mercury could and does cause in an infant.  There is no evidence that this dose is causing autism.  Sources also use the claims from the California and IDEA study to claim that there is an epidemic but with little regard to the fact that the spikes in autism do not correlate with when infants started receiving these vaccines.  Therefore, even if if there were true increases in the number of autistic children starting around the early 1900’s (which we have shown that they aren’t through the revelation of when states could even report the incidence of autism), they could not be caused by these vaccines.

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