Myths & Stigmas

1. Myth: My Child will Grow out of Autism

Fact:  A child will never grow out of these traits without adequate therapies (and even then there will be challenges).  The longer you wait, the worse it is. EARLY INTERVENTION IS KEY The longer a child with Autism goes without necessary help, the harder they are to reach.

2. Myth: It is the mother’s fault or the parents must have done something wrong during the pregnancy.

Fact: (Common cultural stigmas):

  • “Refrigerator” mother – offensive term used for mothers who supposedly did not show warmth and affection towards their child during crucial years of development.
  • Parents were fighting
  • Parents are paying for sins they committed earlier in their lives
  • Parents did not take them to church/temple enough

No one is at fault. Placing blame on external factors takes away from the importance of finding relevant and necessary interventions to better help a loved one impacted by Autism.

3. Myth: Having Autism reduces the life span of my child

Fact: Children with Autism can live long, healthy and productive lives with proper support systems and treatment.

4. Myth: It was the immunizations/vaccines that caused my child to develop Autism. My child was normal until he/she got the MMR (Measles/Mumps/Rubella) vaccine.

Fact:

  • Studies that initially supported this claim were found to be fraudulent and recently withdrawn
  • —Many large studies and reviews have found insufficient evidence to support an association between the MMR vaccine and Autism
  • It is believed that the perceived link between the MMR vaccine and Autism may be purely coincidental
    • vaccine is normally given at the same time that most screening tools are used to diagnose autism (around the 12-18 month period) as well as when most clinical features become evident to parents
  • Immunization Safety Review Committee of the IOM concludes that the evidence favors rejection of a causal relationship between MMR vaccine and autism

5. Myth: It was the mercury (i.e. Thiomersal) in the vaccinations that caused my child to develop Autism.

Fact:

  • Since the turn of the millennia, children in the United States and Canada have had access to thiomersal-free vaccinations
  • A recent study in California showed that even with the discontinuation of the use of thiomersal-containing vaccines, there was still an increase in the incidence of Autism
    • Similar findings were noted in reports from Montreal and California
  • Low-dose thiomersal exposure in humans has not been demonstrated to be associated with effects on the nervous system