Autism is a disorder that impairs the development of a person’s capacity to interact with, communicate with, and also maintain regular “normal” bonds with the outside world. This disorder was described in 1943 by Leo Kanner, an American psychologist. Autism is considered one of the more common developmental disabilities, and appears before the age of three. It is known to be four or five times more common in males than in females. It most cited statistic is that autism occurs in 4. 5 out of 10,000 live births.
The estimate f children having autistic qualities is reported to be 15 to 20 out of 10,000. The gender statement noted before is not uncommon, since many developmental disabilities have a greater male to female ratio. Autistic characteristics are different from birth. Two more common characteristics that may be exhibited are the arching of the back while being held, to avoid contact, and also failing to anticipate being picked up (limpness in the body). Infants with autism are described as being either very passive, or very agitated.
Sometimes during nfancy there will be cases of head rocking, and or banging, against the crib, but this is not always the case. Approximately one-third of children develop normally until the ages of 1 1/2 to 3, and then the symptoms emerge, referred to as “regressive autism. ” During childhood, there is a commonality of the affected child insisting routine. The reasoning is that the child is not able to cope with “novel” situations. Wearing the same clothes, or eating the same foods during meals, are examples. Tantrums can occur when these perseverative behaviors occur.
Twenty years ago, most autistic individuals were institutionalized. Now only the most severe cases live in institutions. During adulthood, autistic individuals are known to live with their parents, in residential institutions, and some do live independently. Because there are so many forms of this disorder, it has been said that there is no true adjective to describe every type of person with autistic symptoms, or autism. My research shows that there are no physiological tests that can be performed to determine whether a person has autism.
The diagnosis is given when a person exhibits the characteristics of the disorder. Note: In the last five years, researchers have agreed that those who display autistic characteristics are commonly suffering from other related but distinct disorders, such as Asperger Syndrome, Fragile X syndrome, Landau Kleffner syndrome, Rett syndrome, and Williams syndrome. Physiological researchers have discovered abnormalities within the brain, but the reason for the abnormalities is not known, and it is not known where the relation to autism lies.
These abnormalities range from underdeveloped areas in the limbic system, to Vernal lobules VI and VII, being smaller than average. Biochemical research has found elevated beta-endorphins, relating to pain tolerance in autistic action. In the cognitive realm, there is much talk of the “theory of mind”, or the inability to realize that other people have their own unique view of the world. Some Cognitive theorists think that the autistic person isn’t able to understand that other people have different thoughts, plans, and perspectives than their own.
Cognitive theorists also examine the 10% statistic of savant skills, an ability that is considered remarkable by most standards. These savant skills are usually spatial in nature. Interventions and therapies are difficult. Family theorists try to work with the family of the patient, to try to develop appropriate behaviors. There is no reported drug that can be considered primary for the patient, although Ritalin is dispensed in many cases. Behaviorists look at the changing of behavior through positive reinforcement, behavior recess, and in turn examine the elf-stimulatory and self-injurious behaviors.
Physiological work such as visual training, and auditory integration training, is used to reduce sensitivities to sounds above normal range, or to sounds the patient can consider painful. When it comes to autism, the most important thing to remember is that parents and doctors in the medical field are now realizing that there can be treatments, and interventions, that can be effective. In addition, note that Federal Law now requires the states to provide early intervention services for autistic children between the ages of one to three.