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The Misunderstanding Of Autism Disorder Essay

865 words - 4 pages

At one point or another we’ve all probably heard the name, Sir Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein and/or Nikola Tesla in our academic careers. For the few who didn’t pay much attention when going over the work of these men, all three were practically “rock stars” in their respective fields of physics and engineering. So, what about names like Vincent van Gogh, Mark Twain, Mozart and Bill Gates? What could three men who helped shape our understanding of the world have in common with a post-Impressionist painter, an American author, distinguished composer, and multi-billionaire? The answer…autism. Through retrospective diagnosis and research, all seven men have been speculated to have had autism or display symptoms and behavioral traits of autistic individuals.
Admittedly, when I first chose to explore autism, I figured it would be an easier psychological issue to discuss than bi-polar disorder or schizophrenia. Only after researching autism for an hour or so, I quickly realized this was not the case. Autism may very well be one of the most complex and examined disorders, for it’s a disorder that stirs up tons of questions yet yields very few answers. So what exactly is it? What are the causes and symptoms? Is there a cure? How many people are affected by autism? Is it being properly portrayed in mainstream media? In this paper, I’ll do my very best to touch on these questions and hopefully leave the ones reading with a better understanding of this disorder.
First off, autism is not a form of mental retardation despite what the general public may have you believe. In actuality, autism, which was first described by Kanner (1943) in his study of 11 children with “autistic disturbances of affective contact” (US: American Psychological Association), is an immensely complex neurodevelopmental disability that typically appears within the first three years of a person’s life. You cannot always tell that someone has autism just by looking at them. Because of this, autism is sometimes called a hidden disability. It is generally characterized by social impairments, communication difficulties, and restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior (A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia.) Neurologists and those in the professional fields that study this neurological disability actually refer to the disorder as autism spectrum disorder or “A.S.D.” for short. As the name suggests, autism is a spectrum condition, which means that, while all people with autism share certain difficulties, their condition will affect them in different ways. The symptoms of autism may range from total lack of communication with others to difficulty in...

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