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  • Writer's pictureKumar Kritanshu

5 ways Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are misunderstood

The world around us is becoming more inclusive and so are the schools. However, to become totally inclusive, we need to spread awareness about what challenges individuals with additional support face and what abrupt responses could literally mean. 

In this article, we will talk a bit about Autism Spectrum Disorder and the ways children with ASD are frequently misunderstood. Understanding ASD is very important for us to play our part in making our society supportive and inclusive for children who experience it.  

Let's go through the misapprehension of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): 

When an ASD child is disinterested or defiant.
  1. The child is disinterested or defiant  A child with ASD would often face verbal and non-verbal communication issues which can lead to misinterpretation. Important to notice that their silence or unusual speech patterns such as echolalia (repeating words or phrases) are frequently understood as showing disinterest or defiance. But little do people understand that this is often a result of their neurological differences, not a lack of understanding or unwillingness to communicate.   


What to do when a child shows behaviour issues or tantrums
  1. The child has behaviour issues or tantrums   Children with ASD may experience overwhelmingly intense sensory experiences. In many cases, bright lights, loud noises, or even certain holds the potential to trigger discomfort and distress. Now please know that these sensitivities are often misjudged as tantrums or poor displays of behaviour. But it is for society to understand that these reactions are genuine responses to sensory overload, not mere overreactions.  


  1. No interest in forming a relationship   Now this one is important, children with ASD may see struggles in understanding social cues making it appear like social withdrawal or having unconventional interactions.  Before we come to the conclusion that the child is rude or lacks interest in forming relationships, but in reality, these children may desire social connection but often find it challenging to navigate social interactions and establish bonds.  


Do you have a stubborn kid? Don't misunderstand them. Learn more
  1. Stubborn Kid  Many children with ASD are accustomed to a routine, which makes them very predictable. Because of strict adherence to their routine, they are resistant to change which is misinterpreted as stubbornness or defiance. Again, do know that this inflexibility is not a deliberate attempt to be difficult but rather a coping mechanism to manage anxiety and maintain a sense of control within their environment.  


  1. They are emotionally detached  Managing emotions can be particularly difficult for children on the spectrum. They might experience intense emotional responses or at times appear like they are emotionally detached. For many of us individuals, this detachment or poor emotional responses are misunderstood which leads to unnecessary or inappropriate disciplinary actions. It is for us to understand their difficulties with emotional regulations and help them with a safe space for better inclusion. 

Society should be informed about the common misconceptions about Autism Spectrum Disorder and how they contribute to the stereotypes and stigmas that children on the spectrum face, and this leads to negative assumptions about their potential and capabilities. Let us be more aware and do our part to promote a more accurate understanding of Autism Spectrum Disorder and its challenges.  

Empathy and education and key to improving our understanding, and by addressing and rectifying these common misunderstandings, we will help these children thrive and reach their full potential.  


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