In general, Autism Essay is the developmental disability that prevents individuals
from properly understanding what they see, hear, or otherwise sense.
Approximately 3 to 5 out of every 10,000 school aged children have some for of
autism, and males with the disorder outnumber females with it by nearly 5 to 1. It
is estimated that 1 in every 500 display some autistic characteristics (Williams,
xiv). Autism is called a spectrum disorder because there is no one characteristic
and it is different in every person. Parents may hear labels such as: autistic-like,
learning disabled with autistic tendencies, high or low functioning autism.
labels dont describe differences in the child as much as the differences in the
professionals training, vocabulary, and exposure to autism (autism zone, review).
Autism and related disorders are grouped under the broad heading of Pervasive
Development Disorder or PDD. Autism, PDD-NOS (pervasive development
disorder, not otherwise specified), Aspergers syndrome and Retts syndrome are
the four diagnoses used to describe individuals who manifest some, but not all
characteristics of autism (Dalldorf, 1). There is no definite test for autism. Autism
is usually first diagnosed in children when they are about 2 years old. A child may
display normal or above normal development until this age and suddenly change.
It is unknown exactly what causes autism, but it is a biological problem and a
childs environment has nothing to do with the disorder (Martin, 2-4). Also there
is no one treatment to help autistic people. There are dozens of ways that seem to
help and for every person it is different.
First there are the characteristics that are most common in autistic people to
varying degrees. Delays in the development of language or no development at all.
If it does develop then there is often use of words without attachment of normal
meaning, use of unusual metaphors or speak in the formal, and talk in a monotone
They usually avoid eye contact and appear to tune out the world
around them. They can appear to be deaf one minute and overly sensitive the next
and similar reactions with all their senses. Some autistic people may excel in one
area or another such as music, math, drawing, or memorizing facts whether
important or not. That was the characteristic displayed in the movie Rainman.
However, only about 20% of autistic people have average or above average
intelligence (autism zone, review). Autistic people tend to perform repetitive body
movements such as rocking back and forth, hand flicking, or twisting.
called stereotypic or self-stimulatory behavior. This behavior is often exhibited in
mentally retarded patients, but it is even more common in autistic individuals. Autistic individuals likes routines and finds comfort in repetition, and when change
occurs in those routines the person becomes agitated and distressed (autism zone,
review). They are usually not interested in socializing and like to be alone. Their
behavior may be very passive or they may overreact. They may throw a tantrum
for no reason at all, appear to have no common sense, and may not realize the
potential danger of things like stoves and cars (Williams 68&69).
These are only
some of the characteristics of autism, and a person may exhibit some of these
characteristics yet not be autistic. Also the degree and if some are present at all
The exact causes of autism are unknown, but there seems to be a link with
heredity and genetics, though a particular gene that causes autism has not been
identified. An article in the American Journal of Psychology says that families
with an autistic child have a higher rate of depression and anxiety that are
unaccounted for raising an autistic child and it is also displayed in aunts and
uncles. Also, non-autistic relatives may display some characteristics of autism in
small quantities. This shows that there is a link between genes and autism (Piven
557). There are biological reasons why autistic characteristics are displayed.
structure of the brain and the biochemical in the body of an autistic person are
notably different from a normal human being. Autistic children have symptoms
like abnormal electroencephalograms, MRI scans, PET test, seizures,
abnormalities on neurological examinations show structural differences in the