Autism: An Essay For My Abnormal Psych Class Outlining The Disorder And Its Details

1530 words - 6 pages

Autism is a disorder of the brain that causes a lifelong development disability, primarily affecting the communication and social abilities of people. Symptoms of the condition are evident either from birth or may begin appear after a period of normal development, but definitely by the time the child is three years old. In the following paper, autism, its conditions and research findings will be stated as well as discussed in the case of 8-year old Austin.Autism is known as a 'spectrum disorder,' because the severity of symptoms ranges from a mild learning and social disability to a severe impairment, with multiple problems and highly unusual behaviour. The disorder may occur alone, or with accompanying problems such as seizures. Autism is not a rare disorder, being the third most common developmental disorder, more common than Downs Syndrome. (Fine (2001, p1, 17). Autism is found throughout the world, in families of all economic, social, and racial backgrounds. Typically, about 20 in a population of 10,000 people will be autistic or have autistic symptoms. 80% of those affected by autism are boys (Hoffman, 1996).A child with high functioning autism may have a normal or high I.Q. and may attend a regular school and obtain a job later on in life. However, this person may have difficulty expressing himself as well as not know how to interact with other people. Moderately and more seriously affected children with autism will vary tremendously. Some autistic children do not ever develop speech, while others may develop speech but still have difficulty using language to communicate. Often, there is an unusual speech pattern, where the autistic child may repeat, or echo whatever is said to them (echolalia), repeating a word over and over, reversing "you" and "I" when asking for something, and speaking only to express needs, rather than emotions.A child with autism looks just like any other child, but has distinctive behavior patterns. A child who is autistic may enjoy rocking or spinning either himself or other objects, and may be happy to repeat the same activity for a long period of time. At other times, the child may move very quickly from one activity to another, and may appear to be hyperactive. Many autistic children have sensitivity to certain sounds or touch, and at other times, may appear not to hear anything at all. Autistic children may have very limited pretend play; they may not play appropriately with toys or may prefer to play with objects, which are not toys. Autistic children may be able to do some things, like sing songs or recite rhymes very well, but may not be able to perform activities requiring social skills very well. For example, when Austin was hungry, he would go sit near the fridge. If he wanted a toy, he would stand next to it and expect someone to know what he wanted. He did not understand that pointing to something would show his parents that he wanted it.There are no medical or genetic tests that can detect autism. These...

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