Imagine having to deal with the symptoms of a disorder that can be lessened, but not having the support to do so. This is the harsh reality for many children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in India, among other places throughout the world. With parents growing up not being very exposed to learning about the disorder -instead sticking to old traditions- comes ignorance and misconceptions that negatively impact their child throughout their life.
Indian culture is based around this idea of perfection, meaning that they are constantly expected to be flawless in all areas of life. Giving birth to a child is no exception to this ; giving birth to the perfect child with the perfect grades, perfect discipline, etc are all just expected.
Regularly, children are alienated due to the fact that they do not fit this ideal and parents’ fear of having their children lead a life of “not belonging” leads parents to avoid accepting that their child has ASD. This paranoia leads to their child leading a life of suffering due to being undiagnosed and untreated. With each. case being so different, specialist advice is needed to make life easier for kids and their families.
The most common misconceptions tend to be:
- All people with autism have an intellectual disability
- Children with autism do not speak
- Children with autism are more aggressive
- Autism is a behavioral or mental health disorder
- Autism is caused by parenting style
- Autism is a childhood condition that can be outgrown or cured
What stands out about these misconceptions is the way they speak in a generalized way about those with ASD, when in fact each case is unique to the person. Hoping that it is a condition that can be outgrown or cured is the most common misconception, a hope rooted back in that ideal of having the “perfect” child. We must work together to educate ourselves so that we can educate these parents and more children with ASD can live a life of much more ease