*Missing Works Cited*
There are many diseases and disorders that plague today’s society, but one of the most serious of those disorders is autism. Autism is the third most common developmental disability, affecting over one half million people worldwide (Autism Society of America). As of yet there is no cure for this debilitating disorder, only a variety of treatments.
The history of autism extends, as far back as the late sixteenth century; however, during that time it was not identified as this illness. Here is a statement from before the discovery of the illness:
In 1799, a boy about eleven years of age was found naked in the woods of
Averyron, France. He was dirty, covered with sores, mute, and behaved like
a wild animal. Jean Itard, the physician of the new institution for deaf-mutes, was given charge of the abandoned child. From Itard’s description, Victor showed many features of autism. He did not look at people and never played with the toys, but showed remarkable memory in recalling the position of objects in his room and resisted any change of these objects (Paluszny ).
It was not until 1943 that the label “autism” was used by a child psychiatrist, named Leo Kanner to describe the symptoms. “The term autism derives from auto, the Greek word for self,” (Hamblin). Kanner used this term when he studied eleven children who had a “unique form of schizophrenia” (Hamblin). Although, it was later determined that even though some of the characteristics of schizophrenia and autism are not the same, Kanner did open new doors for an intensive study of a confusing syndrome.
Autism is a developmental disability, not a mental illness that typically appears during the first three years of life. No one is certain why it occurs, but researchers have found that MRI scans of people with autism show abnormalities in the structure of the brain.
Every person with autism is different and there is no set type or typical person with autism. This is because autism is a spectrum disorder, meaning that symptoms and characteristics of the disorder can present themselves in a variety of ways, from mild to severe. Usually children with autism have deficiencies in both verbal and non-verbal communication. Lastly, behavior is greatly affected by autism. They may be overactive or very passive and throw frequent tantrums, injuring themselves, for no apparent reason other than to gather attention. They often lack common sense and show aggressive or violent behavior. While some people only show one or two symptoms, others have all or nearly all and find it extremely difficult to function in society. People with autism do live normal life spans and the behaviors associated may change or disappear over time.
During the stages of infancy, the autistic baby seems normal. Then, a period of time before the age of three, the child experiences regression. In some cases, the first signs are at the age of three. There is no...