Autism Essay, Research Paper
Autism In 1943, Leo Kanner, an American psychiatrist, first coined the word in order to describe the symptoms of a group of children whose common abnormalities of behavior distinguished them from the mentally handicapped children in his care. Autistic children show strange fears. Most of these fears are usually of totally harmless objects such as a box or a bush. The strange thing is that they will not register fear when there is real danger. This is probably connected to their inability to make sense of the impressions they receive. Such children tend to be very sensitive to certain sounds-one child used to run away from the sound of cold water gushing into the washing machine. There is sometimes a fascination these children might have with bright lights or with strange objects, such as a piece of broken plastic or a piece of a broken rubber-band. An autistic child may show disturbing indifference to heat and cold. Another strange response is their body movements- arm- or hand-flapping, hopping from one foot to another or jumping. Many autistic children possess what are known as islands of normality . These islands of normality usually affect activities where the development of language and certain skills are not necessary-such as music, math, or art. Such children who seem to stand astride the dividing line between normality, are sometimes able to live in ordinary society. But they remain immature, vulnerable, and in need of constant support.
Other autistic children may develop a certain amount of useful speech and acquire many practical skills but cannot tolerate the pace of everyday modern life. While they will always need to live in a sheltered environment, they are, however capable of making important contributions to the success of the environment and of living full lives. There are also those who are so severely disturbed that their parents never had much doubt as to the cause.At one time autism was blamed on bad parenting. Now it is believed to be caused by abnormalities in the brain. Several possible causes of these abnormalities have been proposed: an illness the mother suffered during her pregnancy; too little oxygen at the time of birth; or possibly an abnormal gene. In some cases, X rays have revealed abnormalities in the structure of the brain itself. There is no way to diagnose autism apart from observing the child’s behavior closely over a period of time.