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    Autism Disorder Description Essay

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    On December 7, 1999, an essay on Autism was written. According to Sternberg (1995), autism is a childhood syndrome characterized by a lack of social relationships, communication abilities, and a highly restricted range of interests. Autism is also known as pervasive developmental disorder (PDD). Children with autism also lack intellectual development. Autism occurs in 0.04% of the population and is four times more likely to occur in boys than in girls. Autism is a disorder with no definite explanation, and an effective treatment has not been developed.

    There is no specific test for autism, but it is defined by its symptoms (Paluszny, 1979). According to Murray (1996), there are four signs that almost always appear in children diagnosed as autistic: social isolation, cognitive deficits, language deficits, and ritualistic motor activity. The first sign is social isolation. Autistic children do not relate to surrounding people and may remove themselves from all social contact. The autistic child does not seem to be aware of the persons in his or her environment. Autistic children have a hard time dealing with relationships, and this will continue into adulthood. Autistic children can also form an obsession for objects, like a toy.

    He can be content if left alone to play repetitively with some toy or object. If she is interfered with, tantrums and uncontrollable crying may take place. A second sign is cognitive deficits. Most individuals with autism are also mentally retarded. A survey done by the University of Utah shows that sixty-six percent of the 241 autistic individuals scored lower than 70 on standardized IQ tests.

    Autistic children usually do better on tests that deal with their sensorimotor abilities (Shulman, Yirmiya, & Greenbaum, 1995). They may respond to only a limited number of cues and seem not to see the world from another’s point of view. Cognitive, social, and motor developments correspond to mental age rather than chronological age. Additionally, language deficits are common among autistic children. More than half of them do not speak at all or simply repeat what they hear from their surroundings or others (Murray, 1996).

    According to Sigman and Capps (1997), autistic children in the early stages of language development show frequent use of language to obtain a desired object, but less frequent use of language to serve social functions. Mentally retarded autistic children who are able to understand and use language have broader life experiences. The fourth characteristic is the ritualistic motor activity and preservation of sameness (Murray, 1996). Most autistic children tend to repeat a limited number of movements endlessly, such as rocking or head-banging.

    Their behaviors are stereotypical, repetitive, and show no variation. The behaviors of an autistic child can become noticeable. Some behaviors can cause physical harm, and sometimes they show little or no response to pain. Autistic children are obsessed with keeping their surroundings the same.

    Everything must be in the same place. Less than one-quarter of autistic children adjust to adolescence and adulthood. Between forty to seventy percent of people diagnosed with autism live their lives in institutions.

    There are no definite explanations for the childhood disorder, and researchers have not developed any effective treatments. Autism is a biological disorder, and there are a number of proposed explanations for autism.

    According to Sternberg (1995), there are psychodynamic explanations, learning theory explanations, and cognitive explanations, but the most successful one has been the psychophysiological explanations. Those who are autistic show no abnormalities of the brain, but researchers have discovered lesions in the brain stem of some children. By comparing the brains of children with autism with the brains of children who do not have the disorder, numerous differences have been seen, including enlarged ventricles, reversed cerebral asymmetry, and more active right than left cerebral hemispheres. There have also been indications of biochemical imbalances in autistic children. Four neurophysiological explanations for autism have been identified (Murray, 1996), including genetic factors that have been studied in twins, siblings, and families.

    Autism is significantly associated with the X syndrome and untreated phenylketonuria. It is also common in siblings. A survey conducted by the University of Utah shows that familial rates of autism in siblings of autistic children are over 200 times more likely than in the general population. Minton, Campbell, Green, Jennings, and Samit compared thirty autistic children, ages two to six years old, with 50 siblings, aged three to nineteen.

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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