Have you ever seen a child or adult who is acting weird and not their age? It is not their fault but they have a genetic disorder called Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). In this paper, the reader will have a good understanding of what autism is. This paper contains a lot of information regarding this topic. Autism, for some reason is starting to become more common in the United States with a 1 in 59 ratio.
What is Autism?
Autism Spectrum disorder (ASD), or more commonly known as autism, is a neurobehavioral disorder that occurs in children in their early years of life. According to the CDC, autism affects about 1 in 59 children in the United States. Kids that have Autism have trouble with expressing the way they feel to other people.. They cannot really understand what other individuals feel and how they think. Because of this, it's hard for them to show who they really are with words or even facial expressions. A sensitive child that has Autism can have their feelings hurt by certain sounds, smells, or even sights that other people see as normal. Some may even have recurring body movements like pacing or hand flapping.
History of Autism
In 1911, A German psychiatrist named Eugen Bleuler described a symptom that had a unique cluster as autism, but traditionally the cluster of symptoms were commonly known as schizophrenia. According to Dictionary.com, The Definition of Schizophrenia is a severe mental disorder characterized by some, but not necessarily all, of the following features: emotional blunting, intellectual deterioration, social isolation, disorganized speech and behavior, delusions, and hallucinations.” The word “autism” comes from the greek word autos, which means self, Which shows conditions that an individual is removed from certain socialization. Autism was associated with psychiatric disease, But Autism was not recognized as a disorder until 1980. But the first known case of autism goes to around the year 1747. There was a court case where a man named Hugh Blair showed strong symptoms of being autistic. Another case was when a boy who was nicknamed The Wild Boy of Aveyron, lived in the wilderness for about seven years. Then someone brought him back into society in the year 1798, people tried to teach the boy social skills and how to speak. Since notes were taken on this case, modern researchers have come to the conclusion that the kid had autism because of his behavior. Autism was related to schizophrenia for a long time until 1938, That's when people started to see autism separate from schizophrenia. A man named Leo Kanner made autism more defined in 1943. He did a test with eleven children to see any behavioral similarities and according to Leo Kanner, he described the behaviors as “autistic aloneness” and “insistence on sameness”. People in 1943 and the late 1960’s were starting to get confused between the term Autism and Infantile schizophrenia. But there was a lot of inaccurate research that was conducted. Phycologist Bruno Bettelheim is an example, he believed that the cause of autism was by unloving cold mothers. He had described them as “refrigerator mothers.” This reason was later disapproved by another psychologist named Bernard Rimland. Bernard published “Infantile Autism:The Syndrome and its Implication for a Neural Theory of Behavior” in 1964. Treatments that were used in the 60s and 70s were electric shock, LSD, and using pain and punishment to change their behavior, But these methods really did not work. It wasn’t until 1987 that “Infantile autism” changed to “autism disorder.”
Causes of Autism
Autism rates were 1 in 150 for children who were born in 1992, now for modern day children the rate seems to be 1 in 40, that nearly double than it was. Modern Medicine really do not know what the exact cause of autism, but there is in fact clear evidence that may have a genetic link. Related conditions and autism have a tendency to run in families. If a baby is born prematurely, they have a greater chance of being autistic. If the father is old, the baby could be autistic. Some studies show that in some areas, a baby's chance of getting autism may increase. Certain places like california, utah, and texas have a higher rate of babies getting autism. Why in certain places the rate of autism is higher than others, some research says its because of the higher amounts of environmental toxins in that specific area. In 2014, a study found out that boys who were born with genital defects were likely to be diagnosed with autism. The same test were performed on girls and the connection was not really strong. No one knows why Autism is 5 times more likely for boys to have it than girls.
Treatments for autism
There is no absolute treatment method for autism, but there are many things to do to help aid the symptoms. People who are diagnosed with Autism can use their abilities if they get the proper therapies. There are different methods for each person, but most people with autism act best to specialized programs that are made for certain skills. Some of the treatments to help the effects are-
- Physical therapy
- Nutritional therapy
- Early intervention
- Cognitive behavior therapy
- Behavioral management therapy
- Social skills training
- Educational and school-based therapy
- Occupational therapy
Behavior and communication treatments are available and are typically used in school to help the kid reduce the negative behaviors that he uses into the positive behaviors, rewards are given when the child has positive behaviors. It's a way to reinforce that act, that treatment option is called ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis). (PRT) Pivotal response training helps the kid to be motivated to communicate and to learn things. (VBI) Verbal Behavior Intervention helps the child on enhancing their language speaking skills. (DIR) Developmental Individual Differences involves The parent and child to get on the floor and play with each other and do activities that the child likes to do. This type of treatment is supposed to help support the emotional growth by helping the child be familiar with communication and emotions. But there is one therapy being used in one school in the U.S and that's called shock therapy. This therapy uses electrical currents for for when the child is misbehaving. The FDA is trying to ban this type of therapy because it is inhumane. A thing called Play therapy is a very good way for a child and adults with autism to improve their social and emotional skills and help their language skills as well. Some studies shown when children had 25 hours every week of floortime for about two years, this method helped improve all areas of development. Playing is a way to express themselves because their language skills are weak and they cannot use them very well. But the way they play is in a way them speaking. Occupational Therapy focuses on daily tasks such as holding a utensil correctly or buttoning a shirt. Speech Therapy helps the child on how to speak properly and how to interact and communicate with other people. They even practice non verbal skills like using gestures and waiting their turn during a conversation.
Symptoms of Autism
There are many symptoms to autism and the severity of symptoms depends on the person. Some of the symptoms are, unresponsiveness, repetitive movements, non stop focus on an item, lack of understanding of signals that people send through body language, or even self-abusive behavior like hitting themselves. A few other include,
- Learning to speak late
- Not engaging with other children while playing
- Lack of empathy
They may even act out and scream to tell you want they want, because their sufficient language skills have not developed. The signs in babies vary but usually you can tell if they have a lack of eye contact, overly putting their attention on an item, and not having a back and forth play concept. But the main core symptoms are social communication challenges and repetitive behavior. These symptoms occur in the person's early childhood and effect with daily living. In order to diagnose autism, healthcare providers use a checklist of criteria with two categories, social communication challenges and restricted and repetitive behaviors. Many people with autism are sensitive to sounds, lights, touch,smell, taste, etc. Autism also comes with a high rate of certain mental and physical health conditions. They May have a problem with their communication skills, they may:
- Have problems with pronouns
- Robotic speaking voice
- Echolalia (this means that they repeat the same words over and over)
- Lack of use of common gestures( Like pointing or waving at someone)
- Not being able to stay on topic while talking
- Not being able to distinguish sarcasm or a joke
For some reason, Autism is starting to become more come in the U.S. Research has been conducted and we now know that 100 genes that increase the chances of a child to get diagnosed with autism.