Millions of people around the world suffer from incurable diseases and disorders. Everyday brings a new challenge, a new obstacle to overcome as they search in vain for a way to ease the pain brought upon them by the disease or disorder they carry. Autism is one of the many mental disorders that plagues the planet. Autism is defined as, “A set of symptoms that include limited social abilities and highly patterned behavior” (“Autism” 1), and though many treatments are available world wide, as of now, there is no cure. This mental disorder is growing rapidly. In fact it is growing so quickly that now every 1 in 110 children is diagnosed with autism and there is a new case diagnosed every twenty minutes. The scariest statistic to date states that this year more children will be diagnosed with autism than AIDS, cancer, and diabetes combined (“Autism Support” par. 4).Due to this developmental disability’s rampant increase, parents are desperate to discover a treatment that will help their children. Treatment options for autism are growing rapidly, however only a few handfuls prove reliable and affective.
Autism is not one clear cut disorder. Cases of autism range in levels of severity. The autism spectrum defines the different intensities of autism, ranging from Asperger syndrome to childhood disintegrative disorder, also known as CDD (“Autism” 1). Symptoms defining the autism spectrum include, “difficulty maintaining eye contact or looking directly at objects of interest; repetition of sounds or physical motions; difficulty adapting to changes in environment or schedule; and inability to understand and participated in “make believe” scenarios” (“Autism” 1-2).
However, before the autism spectrum came about, the disorder itself had to have been acknowledged. Leo Kanner, a Johns Hopkins psychiatrist, became the first to identify autism in 1943 and in 1944 the Austrian pediatrician Hans Asperger added his own definition. Yet shortly after these gentlemen discovered autism, Europe rejected their discovery in order to deal with the chaos World War II left behind. Luckily, a British psychiatrist named Dr. Lorna Wing resurrected interest in autism by publishing a paper in 1981(Nash 1).
Families looking for treatments can turn to several different sources for information. One of the most reliable sources is a foundation known as Autism Speaks Incorporated. This resource backs applied behavioral analysis, speech-language therapy, special diets, and medical intervention as some of the best treatments for autism (“Treatments and Therapies” 6-31).
The organization Autism Speaks Incorporated defines applied behavior analysis, or ABA, as, “The use of techniques developed for increasing useful behaviors and reducing those that may be harmful or that interfere with learning to address socially important problems, and to bring meaningful behavior change” (“Treatments and therapies” 4). Many councilors and therapists use ABA to teach communication, social,...