The Truth About Autism

What is autism, really? There is a lot of misconception about people with autism. Are they a different species of humanity? To debunk these myths, here are various peer-reviewed resources to clarify these misconceptions:

Peer-Reviewed Source No. 1: Raff, 2010

To start, Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD is a spectrum, and probably the reason for the apparent increase in the diagnostic criteria of Autism as it has expanded enormously.

Three Functional Levels of Autism:

  • Level 1, which is regarded as high functioning autism, are Asperger kids, who have much less trouble with language.
  • Level 2, the spectrum in the middle, in which patients may need substantial support.
  • Level 3, which is considered Severe Autism, is the most challenging end of the spectrum. The patient’s social, communication, and repetitive behaviors severely impair daily life activities.

The defining features of autism are the three core features, such as:

  • the problem with social interactions, which is often the heart of the matter, a problem with language,
  • a tendency to have restricted interests and
  • repeated stereotypic motor behaviors.

These are the so-called autistic triad, and you need to have two of the three and to develop them by the age of 3 to be considered autistic.

This media clip portrays real ASD patients in three different levels:

Peer-Reviewed Source No. 2: Elder Robison, 2018

Just like in the article “What is Autism” by John Elder Robison, the author talks about his struggle and point of view about his autism. Robison’s (2018) work of literature supports the media clip “Just Like You – Autism.” The author clarifies that his experience of the world is just as valid as anyone else’s. When he associates colors with sounds or see details others can’t, his knowledge of those things is just richer than that of others. The author calls this as a gift. He explains that when nonautistic people look at a machine and sees a problem that is impossible to understand, that too is a gift. This back-up the information in the media that people with autism are just like anyone else but different. Just like the media clip I choose, it talks about children with autism who are the same as other kids but different in their own ways.

This literature also supports the information in the media that people with autism require assistance, such as making friends and integrating into society. People with ASD ask for help communicating, and when medicine can’t provide answers, they turn to engineers. Now, formerly nonspeaking autistics are finding a voice through electronic technology and assistive devices.

More About Autism:

Peer-Reviewed Source No. 3: Barton, Gossett, Waters, Murray, and Francis, 2019

This research is about young children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), demonstrating fewer and less varied play behaviors than children with typical development. The study has shown that children with ASD do not engage in the same levels of spontaneous play as children without disabilities, even when matched for mental age and receptive and expressive language abilities. This research supports the information in the media clip from the service provider Autism Queensland, in which the child wasn’t responding to his name when he was a baby, didn’t play peek-a-boo, or won’t play with the grandmother or anyone else but himself. 

This literature explains that play is a primary context for participation for young children with disabilities in early childhood settings.

Play skills contribute to children’s

  • social,
  • cognitive and
  • language development

So based on the media clip, since the baby wasn’t participating in play, it affects his social and language development as well. Early Intervention, additional support, and further assistance that the child needs, as stated in the video, are essential for him to develop these skills.

According to my research, the media clips I choose got the facts right and provided clarity and specificity about autism. The viewers of these media clips can feel confident that he or she has been offered correct medical information on the truth about autism.



Barton, E., Gossett, S., Waters, M. C., Murray, R., & Francis, R. (2019). Increasing Play Complexity in a Young Child With Autism. Focus on Autism & Other Developmental Disabilities, 34(2), 81–90.

Elder Robison, J. (2018). What Is Autism? Psychology Today, 51(5), 48–50. Retrieved from

Raff, M. (2010). Video Q&A: What is autism? — A personal view. BMC Biology, 8, 42–45.


Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder that develops before the age of three and involves impaired social interaction as well as communication. Also commonly seen is a small range of interests and activities for a person with ASD. Originally this disorder was discovered in 1943, by child psychiatrist Leo Kanner. The people with this disorder can have various levels of intelligence ranging from low to normal, as well as difference in severity of symptoms. The key component in all of these children is the lack of social and communication skills.

1 in 68 children in the US have ASD. This is a 30% increase from two years ago, in which it was 1 in 88 children were diagnosed. The reason for this dramatic incline is unknown, it is also possibly that awareness has made it easier for children to be diagnosed earlier during there development.According to Autism speaks many symptoms of the disorder consist of but are not limited to…

Possible signs of autism in babies and toddlers:                            By 6 months, no social smiles or other warm, joyful expressions directed at people
By 6 months, limited or no eye contact
By 9 months, no sharing of vocal sounds, smiles or other nonverbal communication
By 12 months, no babbling
By 12 months, no use of gestures to communicate (e.g. pointing, reaching, waving etc.)
By 12 months, no response to name when called
By 16 months, no words
By 24 months, no meaningful, two-word phrases
Any loss of any previously acquired speech, babbling or social skillsPossible signs of autism at any age:
Avoids eye contact and prefers to be alone
Struggles with understanding other people’s feelings
Remains nonverbal or has delayed language development
Repeats words or phrases over and over (echolalia)
Gets upset by minor changes in routine or surroundings
Has highly restricted interests
Performs repetitive behaviors such as flapping,                          rocking or spinning
Has unusual and often intense reactions to sounds, smells, tastes, textures, lights and/or colors

Children may demonstrate some of these behaviors, but not all. Also children who develop some of these behaviors, may not be autistic. If you believe your child may have ASD, contact your pediatrician for testing. Early intervention is extremly important for these children.

Many interventions for ASD are home bases therapies such as

  • Applied Behavioral Analysis
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Speech Therapy

Causes of ASD… These can be genetic in origin from either parent on chromosome 16 or even a spontaneous gene change during embryonic development. Increase age of either parent also increases the risk, as well as birth complications, premature birth and the birth of multiples such as twins and triplets. ASD is also linked to abnormal brain development at an early age. Women who have been exposed to German Measles or during the course of their pregnancy also put their child at t a higher risk of developing the disorder. Although it is a common myth, vaccines do NOT cause Autism Spectrum Disorder! 

These children are also at risk for many other comorbidities. Such as…Epilepsy, gastrointestinal problems, selective or restricted eating habits , sleep disturbances, Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADD and ADHD), Anxiety, Depression, and Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Those who have ASD also commonly engage in self injurious behaviors such as but not limited to…head-banging, hand-biting, and excessive self-rubbing and scratching. Which if not monitored can lead to concussions and life-long brain damage. These behaviors tend to be coping mechanisms for too much sensory stimulation, whether it be environmental or internal stressors. With help from early intervention sometimes these self-injuries behavior can be replaced with functional and non-destructive behaviors.

In Conclusion…ASD is a disorder of sensory processing. What may feel normal to a neurotypical brain could be extremly distressing to the ASD brain. These children can lead very happy and healthy lives with early intervention services as well as love and understanding. Remember April is ASD awareness month, more information about advocacy events can be found at

Great Informational References  


Warning signs:


Autism Friendly Events:

For those who are more audio or visual learners, I attached two great videos to help explain Autism Spectrum Disorder. The first is an animated explanation of the disorder. The second video is facts about ASD and even covers popular myths about the disorder as well.