Austism Essay, Research Paper
It has been over 50 years since Dr. Leo Kanner, a psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins University, wrote the first paper applying the term ‘autism’ to a group of children who were self-absorbed and who had severe social, communication, and behavioral problems. For many years, the most cited statistic is that autism occurs in 4.5 out of 10,000 live births. This was based on large scale surveys conducted in the United States and England. More recently, estimates on the prevalence of autism have ranged been as high as +% to +% of the population. Autism is three times more likely to affect males than females. This gender difference is not unique to autism since many developmental disabilities have a greater male to female ratio.
Autistic infants are different from birth, they are usually described as being either passive or overly agitated babies. Two common characteristics they exhibit include arching their back to avoid physical contact, and they are unable to anticipate being picked up, they become limb. During infancy, many begin to rock and/or bang their head against their crib.
About one half of autistic children develop normally until about 1.5 to 3 years of age, then autistic symptoms begin to emerge. Some autistic toddlers reach developmental milestones, like talking, crawling, and walking, much earlier than the average child; although others develop much slower. As an autistic child grow older they may fall very much behind in area of social skills, communication, and cognitive. In addition, dysfunctional behaviors may start to appear, such as self-stimulatory behaviors, like repetitive non-goal directed behavior, such as rocking, hand flapping, hand biting, head banging, sleeping and eating problems, poor eye contact and insensitivity to pain.
Another characteristics of autism is insistence on sameness. Many children become over insistent on routines; if one is changed, even slightly, the child may become upset and throw a tantrum. An example of this is, wearing the same clothing, or going to school on the same routine. One possible reason for insistence on sameness may be the person’s inability to understand and cope with novel situations.
Although there is no known unique cause of autism, there is growing evidence that autism can be caused by a variety of problems. There is some indication of a genetic influence in autism. Currently there is a great deal of research focused on locating the ‘autism gene’, however research guess there are up to five genes associated with autism. There is also evidence that a virus can cause autism. There is an increased risk in having an autistic child after exposure to rubella during the first trimester of the pregnancy. There is also a growing concern that toxins and pollution in the environment can also lead to autism. The areas in which there is a high population there is also a high report of pollution.
Researches have located several brain abnormalities in individuals with autism; however, the reasons for there abnormalities is not known nor is the influence they have on behavior. These abnormalities can be classified into two types, dysfunction’s in the neural structure of the brain and abnormal biochemistry of the brain. They have located two areas in the limbic system which are underdeveloped, the amygdala and the hippocampus. These two areas are responsible for emotions, aggression, sensory input and learning. Also a dysfunctional immune system has also been associated with autism. It is thought that a infection or an environmental toxin may be responsible for damaging the immune system. Researchers have found that many autistic individuals have a decreased number of helper t-cells, which help the immune system fight infection.
Many autistic individuals do not realize that others may have different thoughts, plans, and perspectives than their own. About 10% of autistic individuals have remarkable skills. Such as playing an instrument or painting. An amazing mathematical ability in with autistic individuals can multiply large numbers in their head within short periods of time, in not uncommon. Others can determine the day of the week when given a specific day in history or memorize the complete airline schedule in seconds. Many individuals with autism have a narrow or focused attention span. Usually their focus is on only one, often irrelevant, aspect of an object.
Although there is no cure for autism, most individuals with autism take medication to reduce autistic behaviors. Ritalin is used with most autistic children, the drug is usually to treat ADHD (Attention Deficit/hyperactivity Disorder). Non- traditional treatments have also proven to be effective, such as reward and punishment. The children receives a time out for an inapporopiate behavior, and for a good behavior, such as communication and social behavior, the child is positively reinforced. Vitamin B6 waken with magnesium has been shown to increase general well-being, awareness, and attention in approximately 45% of autistic children.
Autism is a very complex disorder, and the needs of these individuals vary greatly. After 50 years of research, traditional and contemporary approaches are enabling us to understand and treat these individuals. If is also important to mention that people are beginning to realize that the symptoms of autism are treatable, there are many treatments that have made a significant difference.
The logo for the national parent support group , the Autism Society of America, is a picture of a child embedded in a puzzle. Most of the pieces of the puzzle are on the table, but we are still trying to figure out how they fit together. We must also keep in mind that these pieces may fit several different puzzles.