While growing up with my little brothers I learned that my second youngest brother, Kayden, had something called High functioning autism. All I knew was that Kayden has a hard time controlling his emotions and would sometimes switch instantly between moods. One moment Kayden could be laughing while playing with his friends, and then all of a sudden he would start screaming at them because someone accidently stepped on his shoes. Kayden also has better grades than the rest of his brothers got when they were at his level in school. He is also better than my brothers and I at any video game, from “Super Mario Brothers” to “Call of Duty”.
Other than mood swings, having really good grades, and being a lot better at video games than the rest of his brothers, I did not fully understand how autism affects Kayden, or what really differentiates him from other people. I wanted to learn more about autism in general, and how it affects my brother.
At first I didn’t know who to interview or where to look, so I started by E-mailing my psychology teacher, Mrs.Weglin. She was very kind in pointing me in the right direction towards our school’s special education department, and recommended that I start with Mrs. Custis.
Mrs. Ashley Custis is a special education teacher at Spearfish High School, who developed a love for adults and children with developmental disabilities, and graduated from Black Hills State University in May of 2013 with a degree in K-12 Special Education. Mrs. Custis has had experience teaching kids with autism before, so she was more than willing to help me with my hunt for information.
I got to take a trip down to the special education room to interview Mrs. Custis. I opened by asking “just what is autism?” Mrs. Custis enthusiastically began talking about the major symptoms of autism. Autism is a mental disorder usually found, and diagnosed in children up to three years old. Stacking objects in weird ways, or poor motor skills as a child are some ways to identify autism. The causes of autism are unknown and there are many theories, but many believe it is just genetic factors. Someone with autism usually finds social interactions difficult, and interacting with their peers may be awkward.
Mrs. Custis seemed very knowledgeable as she explained to me that there are many severe to mild variations in these symptoms, and no two people that have the same diagnoses of autism behaves in the exact same way. This is called the autism spectrum, and to be on the spectrum means that you have some degree of autism and its symptoms.
My next question for her was “what are some of the other symptoms related to autism?” Autism contains components of obsessive compulsive disorder, or ocd for short. Someone who has autism may think that everything has to be perfect and in its place, they would also be obsessed with sorting. Other components of ocd that come with autism would be having specific outfits and routines every day. That would explain why my...