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Myths of Autism

Myth: All autistics are savants.

Fact: Only about 10 percent of all autistics are savants. Most autistics (the other 90 percent) are not savants.

Myth: Autistics do not attend college or other postsecondary education.

Fact: Autistics can and do attend college/university and other schooling pursuits after high school (ex. vocational training, trade schools). Several books and many articles have been written about autism and college. Many colleges are implementing greater support for their autistic students due to increasing attendance from students who identify as being on the autism spectrum.

Myth: Only children are autistic. Autism disappears after childhood.

Fact: Autism is lifelong. Autistic children become autistic adolescents and autistic adults. The neurological diversity of autism does not disappear over time or age.

Myth: All autistics are visual thinkers and have advanced visual-spatial skills.

Fact: Some autistics face challenges in tasks that rely heavily on visual-spatial thinking, such as navigation, modeling, and geometry.

Myth: All autistics are geniuses.

Fact: Some autistics are geniuses, but many are not.

Myth: Autism is not genetic and does not run in families.

Fact: Autism is highly heritable. Past studies have suggested that the concordance of autism in maternal (identical) twins is likely to be between 60 and 90 percent. The concordance of autism among paternal (non-identical) twins and siblings is likely to be between 5 and 25 percent.

Myth: Autistics do not fly on airplanes or travel on buses and trains, and they cannot drive cars.

Fact: Autistics travel on all forms of public transportation, including airplanes, buses, and trains. Although some autistics do not drive, there are also some who do.

Myth: You will not see and meet autistics in your local community. They do not work, shop, buy groceries, bank, or walk around town.

Fact: Autistics do work and do participate in their local community. Most people have seen and met countless autistics over the years and not known it.

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