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A Child With Autism Essay

1517 words - 6 pages

A Special ChildThe birth of a child is a joyous experience and blessing for most parents. However, knowing that one's child is disabled can be extremely painful for the family. Having an autistic child can be devastating and heartbreaking for the parents. Autism is one of the most complex and severe childhood developmental disorders. According to the American Psychological Association, Autism is a developmental disorder that is marked by the presence of impaired social interaction and communication and a restricted range of activities and interests (APA, 1996). Autism occurs in approximately 1 out of every 166 children and is four times more common in boys than in girls (Berger, 2005).Children with autism show a great variety of symptoms ranging from severe impairment in the use of nonverbal behaviors (eye contact etc) that regulate social interaction to the failure to develop a peer relationship appropriate to the age. They may also show unusual responses to sensory stimuli as observed by a lack of responses to pain or hypersensitivity to light or particular sounds (Strock, 2004). Imagine a child, who can not speak, whose emotional attachment is limited, and whose behavior is marked by frequent unmanageable episodes of temper tantrums, self-injurious behaviors, and behavioral deficits (hyperactivity, short attention span etc). Now imagine being the parent of that child. Overwhelming, isn't it? It makes one wonder how having an autistic child affects a family? I have worked with autistic children and their families for two and a half years and in this time I have wondered about the above question. I realize that I grew up in a family that didn't know how fortunate we were to have four healthy children. This realization led me to choose autism for my paper. In search of an answer to my question to I turned to someone who could answer it, a parent of an autistic child.I chose Elizabeth and John, (not real names), parents of a five year old boy. I will refer to him as JC through out this paper. I met Elizabeth and John two years ago when I became the designated behavior therapist for JC. They were of my first clients. The have two children, Mia, 7 and JC, 5. I conducted my interview with Elizabeth. I started by asking her how and when JC was diagnosed with Autism. She preferred that I use 'labeled' instead of diagnosed.JC was born 6lbs and 19 inches. She never noticed anything different in him as a baby. However, when JC turned 14 months, Elizabeth started noticing something that made suspicious. She recalls that Mia was talking and walking by 14 months. JC was a lot slower. The doctor told her not to worry, because some kids slower than others. Finally, at 18 months JC started walking, but he never played with his sister or said anything. He didn't like to be hugged or kissed. He would only play with his favorite animal puzzle and matchbox cars. Sometimes he would run non stop around the dinning table looking at chairs from different angles. At age...

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