Case Study Of An Autistic Child Evaluation

1186 words - 5 pages

This case is of an 8-year-old boy, Steven. Steven has been diagnosed by a Pediatrician as having an Autistic Spectrum Disorder because of the severity of his needs in terms of communication and reciprocal social interaction. Autism is a pervasive developmental disorder that is very complex and involves a broad different and separate physical and mental disorders. Autistic children are in the private world of their own. It is common beliefs that performance of individuals with autism was inferior when compared to that of normal children. Autism is a psychiatric disorder and it is characterised by : (a) gross social deficits , such as, difficulties in forming and maintaining social relationships and deficits in reciprocating social interaction; (b) a striking impairment in both verbal and nonverbal communication; (c) the presence of repetitive behaviour (O'Riordan, 2001). It is believed to be caused by biological factors due to: neurological symptoms, mental handicap, genetic causes, infections, and also difficulties in pregnancy. The diagnosis generally requires a team of professionals because of the many unique characteristics and behaviors of the autistic child. However, the psychiatrist and the psychologist are mainly responsible for the diagnosis and the psychological evaluations involved.Children with autism would show specific deficit on activities that demand the ability to understand hierarchical interrelatedness among classes (Shulman, 1995). However, children with autism do not show marked impairments in sensorimotor categorisation since in young children at this level require a minimal amount of abstract thought (Yirmiya, 1998). Studies (Burack, 1994; Charman, 1997; Yirmiya, 1998; Yirmiya, Sigman, & Zack, 1994) show that at a concrete operations stage of cognitive development differences between children with autism and other individuals occur. Charman (1997) state that impairment in empathy, pretend play, attention and imitation have been linked to the later problems in social understanding and reciprocal social communication. Children have difficulty responding to people, events and objects and their responses to light, sound and feeling may be exaggerated. Even though autism is thought of as a disease or disorder, autistic children can demonstrate special skills, such as, play instruments, accurately sing songs, and recognize structures of music. Research also show that individuals with autism performed better on matrices based on perceptual attributes than on matrices based on functional attributes (Shah & Frith, 1993). It generally appears that ability to manipulate cognitive operations (e.g., planning, inhibition, flexibility, and working memory) is deficient in low functioning autistic individuals.Many therapies have been devised to help autistic children. Some of these therapies are behavior therapy, speech and language therapy, holding therapy, music therapy, and the newest one, facilitation therapy. In the school...

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