Approximately 50% of all savants have autism, while only about five to ten percent of individuals with autism possess extraordinary savant skills.
Myth: All individuals with autism possess special skills and genius abilities (e.g., are able to
memorize license plates, complete complicated mental math, display exceptional musical/
Fact: Although the individual with autism depicted in the movie Rainman possessed special
abilities, the vast majority of people with autism do not. Individuals with autism who possess
genius abilities are often referred to as “savants” or “autistic savants.” Approximately 50% of
all savants have autism, while only about five to ten percent of individuals with autism possess
extraordinary savant skills.
Myth: There is a cure for, or people grow out of, autism.
Fact: People do not grow out of autism. Autism is a lifelong disorder; however, the manifestation
of symptoms may change over time. While there is yet no known cure, autism is definitely
Myth: Poor parenting causes autism.
Fact: While there is no one known cause for autism, it is known the disorder is not caused by
Myth: Children with autism just need more love and a good spanking.
Fact: Autism is not caused by a lack of love, and it is not cured by punishment. Parents need
support to manage difficult behaviours with structure and consistency.
Myth: People with autism have to be in special programs for the autistic.
Fact: Individually designed programs best meet the needs of a person with autism. Those with
autism should be learning, living and working in settings where there is ample opportunity to
communicate and interact with others who have the skills they lack.
Myth: All individuals with autism are withdrawn, avoid eye contact, engage in self-injurious
behaviour, rock, spin objects and avoid affection.
Fact: Individuals with autism tend to be diverse. Therefore, it is difficult to use words such as
all or none when describing this group. Some individuals engage in eye contact, while others
enjoy tickles and hugs. Not all engage in rocking, spinning or self-abusive behaviour. Individuals
with autism do share common behavioural characteristics, however, and it is on this basis that a
diagnosis can be made.