Myths vs. Facts of Intellectual Disability

myths-factsAs a parent and an educator, I am always disappointed when I hear some of the myths about intellectual disabilities and Autism that still surface. In this age of the internet and Google, I would expect that people would seek out the facts when this information is literally at their fingertips.

Still, judgements are made based upon information that is presented to them, often without vetting the idea before supporting it. Some of the largest myths that I’ve encountered:


MYTH: Children with Autism do not like physical contact of any kind.

FACT: As they say, “if you’ve met one child with Autism, you’ve met one child with Autism.” Each child with autism is unique, with their own strengths and challenges. It is certainly not a universal rule that they do not like physical contact. Some children love to be held and hugged!


MYTH: Autism is the same as an Intellectual Disability.

FACT: Many children with Autism do not have intellectual disabilities and vice versa. They are two separate disorders. While they can present concurrently, this is not always the case.


MYTH: Children with intellectual disabilities do not graduate from high school.

FACT: They certainly do! Although their curriculum may look different than the traditional, it will follow the same core regulations and requirements set forth by the Department of Education.


MYTH: No individuals with intellectual disabilities live on their own.

FACT: Many individuals live independently or semi-independently, with room-mates and additional support staff.


MYTH: Individuals with autism or intellectual disabilities are not able to get a paying job upon graduation.

FACT: Just in this calendar year, BNI has helped over 40 individuals with intellectual disabilities secure competitive jobs in the community. As I’ve shared with you all in the past (LINK), we have high hopes that these numbers can and will grow!


Are there some myths you hope to dispel here as well? I encourage you to share them below!

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