1. Autism is a spectrum disorder. This means that the spectrum varies from person to person. There is a range of skills and abilities among individuals with autism. As a result, some individuals with autism are completely unable to verbally communicate and have little social skills, while other individuals may have little trouble communicating and interacting socially.
2. Autism is diagnosed using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder. The DSM-5 is used for treatment recommendations and to diagnose. The diagnostic criteria includes deficits in social communication, difficulty interacting with others, and repetitive interests or behaviors.
3. Asperger’s syndrome (AS) is no longer a diagnosis. AS typically refers to a person with autism who has difficulties with social interactions and communication. Asperger’s syndrome used to have a separate diagnosis from autism. However, in the DSM-5 Asperger’s syndrome falls under autism spectrum disorder.
4.Each individual with autism is unique. Although there are criteria for an autism diagnosis, individuals with autism express different characteristics and function at different levels.
5. Shows on TV usually depict individuals with high functioning autism. In many TV shows, a character with autism is depicted as high functioning. However, the reality is that the majorities of those with autism have more severe difficulties and require much more support than the characters on TV. TV does not accurately represent the autism population.
6.There is no cure for autism, it is treatable. Since there is a range or deficits in individuals with autism, no two treatments are the same. Treatment for autism is customized by the needs of the individual, their family and caregivers.
7.Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is the most supported treatment for autism. The U.S. Surgeon General endorsed ABA as the treatment of choice for autism. There are over 30 years of research supporting the positive effects of ABA therapy on decreasing inappropriate behaviors and increasing communication and social behavior.
8.Autism treatment is covered by insurance. In 2014, current procedural terminology (CPT) codes were established by the American Medical Association to be used to bill insurance companies for ABA treatment.
9.Early treatment yields better results. Autism can be detected early in life. It is recommended that individuals with autism receive treatment services as early as possible.
10. 1 in 59 children are diagnosed with autism. This is an increase of the prevalence of autism. It is important to be knowledgeable in order to best support individuals with autism.