What this paper is going to talk about is defining autism, how it affects parents, and what are the treatments to help resolve that issue. Many cases with autism is many children 12 to 18 months are already showing signs that are beyond normal behavior. Autistic children are known to show negative or odd behavior as an adolescent. Researchers do not know the cause of autism, but only find that there is a difference inside their brains of processing information. Nonautistic people learn information more effectively, then people who have autism. Moreover, although autistic individuals do not develop normally like others. They are also naturally gifted. Autistic people can learn musical prodigies, remarkable memorization, and mathematical skills. Furthemore, Many children have signs that are very odd, but some parents like to wait and observe. Which is why a lot of cases of autism are very hard to be treated. The best possible way for a child to be treated is by parents asking for professional help. Therefore, their child can be treated effectively by other professionals before it is too late. Therefore, research shows that any children who are treated early after sign of autism. Begin to develop normal behavior, and have a second chance at a normal life.
Helping Parents with Autism
Autism also known as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a disorder within the brain. Many children are known to be autistic by signs of unusual behavior. Signs of autistic behavior is children hurting themselves, playing with toys differently, and showing a noncommunicating behavior towards their parents. Causes of autism are undefined. Although researchers cannot find the main cause of autism, major controversy for it are known to be found in genetics or vaccines. Many parents love their children, but some do not know how their children have autism. Autism cannot be known or found in children unless parents are given reasons from their trusted professionals. Therefore, many parents found a way of giving their child another chance to being normal by enrolling them into specialized schools for autistic children. Many parents look for a better way to understand and find solutions for autism because they want their children to live a normal life.
What is Autism?
“Autism is a highly complex disorder that affects the brain’s ability to develop social and communication skills” (Parks, 2009, p. 8). Autism mostly occurs in children between ages 12 to 18 months or earlier. Children of all racial, ethnic, and social groups may be affected by autism, but most cases occurred in boys rather than girls. During the early 1980s, autism affected 4 or 5 children per 10,000 birth. Then, “[i]n February 2007 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that the number had risen to one out of every 150 8-year-old-children” (Parks, 2009, p. 8) Autism was known to be an issue to parents because of the changes in their child’s behavior. For example, a woman named Nicole Kalkowski had a son named Ryan. “When he was 14 months old, he was bubbly, affectionate child who was willing to hug mostly anyone. He giggled a lot, blew kisses, loved to romp with his 2 older sisters, and was starting to put words together such as “hold you,” “bye-bye,” and “night-night.” But just before Ryan’s second birthday, his behavior abruptly changed. He stopped talking and rarely made eye contact with his family members. He refused to hug his sisters or play with them. When his mother tried to lift him out of his crib, he pushed her away. But the worst moment for Kalowski was when she went into Ryan’s room and found him on the floor, with his back to the door, rocking back and forth and lining up toys cars in a straight row. ‘At that moment, time stood still,’ she says, ‘I desperately called his name, but he wouldn’t turn around. I wasn’t asking one more person if something was wrong; I knew there was” (Parks, 2009, p. 10). Since parents just like Kalkowski experience odd behavior, it all leads to another question what are the causes of these behavior.
What Causes Autism?
Scientist do not have any evidence of what causes autism. Moreover, individuals who have autism have different brain chemistry of their cognitive abilities. Research shows that genetic links and environmental toxins are other reasons that caused autism. Genetic links involve people that are not autistic, but somehow have change in genetics that cause the child to be born with autism. Another reason involves the gene being passed down from generation to generation. For example, “Research tells us that autism tends to run in families. Changes in certain genes increase the risk that a child will develop autism. If a parent carries one or more of these gene changes, they may get passed to a child (even if the parent does not have autism). Other times, these genetic changes arise spontaneously in an early embryo or the sperm and/or egg that combine to create the embryo” (“Autism Speaks,”2005, para. 3). Although genes could be the main cause of autism, the environment can be another main cause of autism. The environment is filled with toxins that affects the child’s health depending on where the person is in. for example, “certain geographical areas of the country have much higher rates of autism, such as California, Texas, North Carolina and Utah” (Mazzuco, 2019, para. 4). Vaccination can also be another cause of autism since parents choose to keep their children from getting sick. The reason why vaccination is a problem is because of how many doses have been given to the child, and how strong it is to a certain age of a child. A vaccination contain 50 percent of mercury that is highly toxic. Which is why explains some issues with children’s behavior after taking their vaccines. According to Parks (2009), “…
Hannah had sufferedfrom a series of ear infection, she had fallen behind in getting her vaccines. In July 2000 her mother took her to the doctor, who gave Hannah 9 inoculation-an unusually high amount for one visit. Several days later, Hannah developed a fever, cried and screamed, stopped eating, and would no longer walk. Over the following months her condition continued to worsen, and in 2001 she was diagnosed as autistic” (p. 12). Although many cases involving autism were shocking to most parents, their were effective ways to also help their children become normal again.
How effective are autism treatments?
Many autistic kids are gifted. It just depends on their level of strength and challenges. For example, some children learn more effectively than others such as vocabulary words, mathematical skills, memorization, and more critical thinking that connects to normal brain development. All skills can be learned within an autistic child, but it all depends on how they are being taught. Parents that want the best for their child look for professionals that know how to diagnose the problem which may be an issue. Because parent’s children cannot be helped unless it is someone who experience how they feel, not what type of symptoms they have. For example, Barbara Klein (1986) said, “Unfortunately and very often, teachers and administrators at school don’t understand why the child is having trouble relating to peers. The easy answer is autistic spectrum disorder and a behavioral specialist. Wrong! This approach does not work at all. The well trained and certified behaviorist makes the child more anxious, which intensifies their perfectionism and frustration. Parents go broke and crazy with this approach. The child is no better off for all the aggravation that has gone into this supposed socialization process. Indeed, the child may feel more intensely that he or she is a misfit and act out their sense of being strange with other children” (Para. 3-4). Some autistic children have high intelligence compared to other nonautistic children. The only issue is autistic children do not fit in well with others because of how they perform differently. For example, “The smart kid wants to discuss the differences among his collection with mom and dad and grandma and grandpa and anyone who will listen. The gifted child who speaks about different types of cars or dinosaurs or dolls to his or her neighborhood friend, though, is perceived as weird. The kids begin to leave him or her out of their play, and peer relationships become awkward. Or the gifted child may really enjoy building puzzles and be so much more advanced than his friends at preschool that he cannot engage with them and sits in the corner and reads a book or wants to stay home with his mommy or daddy” (Klein, 1986, Para. 3). Therefore, parents can help their autistic children by putting them in a school that experience with kids who have (ASD). Let them play with kids who enjoys playing with children who have (ASD). Lastly, parents should give advice to their autistic children to teach them how to understand how life works. Other autism treatment programs are behavior analysis (ABA) and Floortime. Behavior analysis involves parents giving children 40 to 50 hour per week home based education programs. While Floortime involves parents or therapists getting on the floor and engaging the child in play-based activities. “The goal of Floortime is to help autistic children become good thinkers, develop social skills, understand their own emotions, and build relationships” (Parks, 2009, p. 16). Every autism treatment program, and parents supporting their child have made a change to autistic children. Autistic children are developing normal cognitive functions even after cases that tells parents it might be impossible to become normal again. For example, a woman named Temple Grandin overcome autism, and worked as a stock equipment designer. According to Peggy (2009), “she did not talk until she was 3 years old, and in 1950 she was diagnosed with autism. Her parents were told that there was no hope for her, and they were advised to institutionalize her. Yet today Grandin holds a PhD and is one of the most respected livestock equipment designers in the world” (p. 17).
Many parents were concerned about their children’s health, and how they will have a normal life. They were also unaware of signs of behavior whether their child is known to have autism. Many issues with some parents is how their child have autism even though they never had the disorder. Most causes of autism that parents did not know was involved with genetics that involve autistic and nonautistic families, and environmental risks. Genes that were created from the father and mother may went through some disruption inside the egg which is why the gene changed that affected the child. Also another cause of autism was with passed down genetics from a family who had autism. And environmental risks were caused by toxins being transmitted to the child by a certain place the person is in. Therefore, Since parents were very serious about their child symptoms and health. They wanted to find the best treatment for their child to have a normal life. Parents that had autistic children learn that they needed to be in specialized schools, have comfortable friends, and given personal advice. Other treatments that were helpful for autistic children were Floortime and behavior analysis. Therefore, after all these effective learning that was given to autistic children. They soon learned of having a normal life which involved one of the successful stories of Temple Grandin overcoming autism. Autism is a very serious disorder that concerns many parents. It is not their children’s behavior that they see is wrong, but it is unusual behavior that involves doing things that are abusive and abnormal. Therefore, parents who notice something is wrong with their child’s behavior should consult a professional immediately. Because it might be too late for a child with autism to be helped, and difficult to have a normal life again.