Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability with a wide range of symptoms. It affects over 2% of the population, with boys being four times more likely to be diagnosed than girls. While there is a genetic component, there are also environmental factors that can contribute to the development of ASD.
Misconceptions surrounding the condition have been a barrier to understanding the challenges faced by people with ASD. One myth is that girls don't usually get autism, but this is not true. Girls can also be diagnosed with ASD, though they are more likely to be misdiagnosed.
Another myth is that everyone's experience with ASD is the same, however it is important to recognize that everyone experiences ASD differently. Most people with ASD do not have severe intellectual disabilities and are able to function in society.
Vaccines have been falsely linked to the development of ASD, however there is absolutely no evidence to support this. Similarly, the increase in diagnoses is not likely due to changes in the environment, but rather changes in the way ASD is characterized and more awareness of the condition.
Finally, it is a myth that you can only be diagnosed with ASD as a child. People can be diagnosed with ASD in adulthood, and many people are misdiagnosed as children. As our understanding of ASD improves, more and more people are being accurately diagnosed.