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Autism should never dwarf a person. People with autism have a social disability, or better put, greater social difficulties. One of the things I noticed was that my son didn't play. As far as language or communication is concerned, he started to talk, and then he stopped. I now know that this is a reason to seek professional help as soon as possible. However, above all else, when you meet a person with autism, or when you're told that someone you love is autistic, it's important to remember that they're still the same person. It's easier to understand if we try to focus on the person rather than the diagnosis.
The myth that they are all child prodigies needs to be quashed. Just like people who aren't autistic, they might be geniuses, but there's no reason they should be. There are a lot of other underlying myths surrounding autism. In my experience, people tend to think that autistic children are more disturbed than others and won't be able to look you in the eye, which isn't the case. My son would have no problem looking you in the eye, and he can smile in social situations. People also ask: "Is it OK to touch him?" Of course it is! There's nothing my little "doggie" likes more than to be tickled. There are a lot of myths surrounding autism, many of which are based on what we've seen in the movies and on TV series. And with respect to those kinds of myths, I believe that people with Asperger's still have much more fighting to do.
An autism diagnosis marks the onset of a complex process of absorption and of trying to determine how best to react for the best interests of your child. We don't have a lot of help and we feel quite abandoned by everyone — doctors and psychologists. Often, you'll be given a diagnosis and nothing more, nobody will take you by the hand and show you the way.