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Worth Repeating: 10 Facts to Bust Those Autism Myths

Editor’s Note:  Although our readers know most of these “Myth Busters,” this article would be a great one to share during Autism Awareness Month with your colleagues that are less familiar with autism.
I’ve been all too conscious of autism since 1998 when my son Charlie’s daycare teachers mumbled something about the delays in his development — no talking, oddly repetitive play (opening and shutting the lid of the CD player ad infinitum) and screams and distress at any sort of change. Charlie was diagnosed with autism in July of 1999 and, ever since, my husband and I have made educating and caring for him the determinant for our every life choice, from where we have chosen to live to our jobs.
April has been designated “Autism Awareness Month” by many autism organizations; others have dubbed the month “Autism Acceptance Month.” As someone who lives round-the-clock in what my husband has dubbed “autismland,” some facts about autism:
1. More and more children in the U.S. (1 in 88 or even 1 in 50) have received a diagnosis of autism since the 1990s. Many point to an ongoing trend, the broadening of the official diagnostic criteria for autism — indeed, “autism” will soon become an umbrella term for individuals considered severe like Charlie and those with “milder” forms of autism, such as Asperger’s Syndrome. Receiving an autism diagnosis today means something a bit different than it did when child psychiatrist Leo Kanner first identified the condition in 1943.
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