In the United States, Autism Essay may affect up to 115,000 children between one and 15 years of age with an uncertain prevalence in adults (Rapin, 1998). Because of the high number of cases in the United States alone, testing has grown and encompasses many different ages and areas of autistic patients and their symptoms. Because of increased testing, researchers have found different options to meet the challenges autism presents.
Testing has been administered before the knowledge of autism in the patient and throughout the knowledge of its existence as well. Testing has also been administered to control the chemical aspects of autism in patients of all ages.
Therapists have gone so far as to believe that a hands off approach would “free the child by the therapist assuming responsibility for adult values” (Pinney, 1985).
With the vast amount of symptoms and behaviors in accordance with autism, testing has proven itself invaluable to the treatment of autistic patients. Because of the social impairment in children with autism, most standardized testing is unreliable; therefore, the best results may therefore be obtained from a standardized observation protocol (Longhurst, 1997).
In some instances it may take a little more than a year of evaluations and testing to successfully diagnose someone with autism. For this reason, researchers are working on different ways to assess children to isolate causes at an early age. Dr.
Teitelbaum, a psychologist at the University of Florida, and other researchers discovered that autistic children appear to have subtle abnormalities in body movements that can be diagnosed as early as 3 months (Blakeslee, 1999).
Dr. Teitelbaum made assessments from a number of infants that later either grew to be normal or autistic and compared their movements when they were either rolling over, sitting up, crawling, or walking. What he discovered from his testing was that autistic infants showed abnormalities in these movements. For instance, normal babies use a corkscrew motion to go from back to stomach or vice versa. However, autistic babies either didnt learn to roll over or did in a peculiar fashion.
They would roll to their stomach or back by raising their head or pelvis and then throw the upper legs forward and topple over, moving all body segments together. Unlike healthy babies, autistic babies would lose balance easily from a sitting position and would fail to break their falls with their hands. Also during the testing Dr. Teitelbaum discovered that autistic babies showed an asymmetrical lack of support in the arms or legs and when they crawled supported themselves on their forearms rather than on their hands. One baby crawled by scooting his left knee on the floor but used his right foot to push himself forward.
Teitelbaum and his colleagues found is the beginning of what has long been a goal of autism researchers, early diagnosis. From this beginning, others will be able to expand testing to encompass more specific areas of autistic development at an early age. However, until this is done, tests have been conducted to help screen toddlers who are potentially autistic.
The CHAT (Checklist for Autism in Toddlers) is performed by general practitioners or health visitors during the 18 month developmental check-up. It consists of 2 sections: one for the parent and one for the toddler. Section A consists of a number of questions asked by the administrator to the parent such as the following:
Does your child enjoy being swung, bounced on your knee, etc.?
2. Does your child take an interest in other children?
3. Does your child ever use their index finger to point, to indicate
Section B consists of a number of questions in observations asked by the administrator to the toddler such as the following:
1. Get the childs attention, then point across the room at an interesting object and say, “Oh look! Theres a (name of toy)!” Watch the childs face. Does the child look across to see what you are pointing at?
Say to the child, “Wheres the light?”, or “Show me the light.” Does the child point with their index finger at the light (The British Journal of Psychiatry, 1996)?
The CHAT is used only as a screening test for toddlers. If the toddler tests positive on the CHAT it only warrants more testing .