IntroductionAutism Essay is a neurobiological disorder. It is defined by the AmericanPsychiatric Association’s diagnostic manual as a disorder with seriousproblems in three major areas.
These are serious impairments in socialinteraction, communication and the presence of repetitive, stereotypedactions, behavior and activities. In this essay I will cover the topics ofmajor characteristics in autism, theories of causes, physical and sensoryimpairments, treatments and my personal experience with autism. Autism is avaried disorder that affects people in different ways and is still poorlyunderstood and few treatments are available. Major characteristicsMany autistic infants are different from birth. Two common characteristicsthey may show include arching their back away from their caregiver to avoidphysical contact and failing to anticipate being picked up (i. e.Order now
, becominglimp). As infants, they are often described as either passive or overlyagitated babies. A passive baby refers to one who is quiet most of the timemaking little, if any, demands on his/her parents. An overly agitated babyrefers to an infant who cries a great deal, sometimes non-stop, duringhis/her waking hours. During infancy, many begin to rock and/or bang theirhead against the cot; but this is not always the case.
In the first few years of life, some autistic toddlers reach developmentalmilestones, such as talking, crawling, and walking, much earlier than theaverage child; whereas others are considerably delayed. Approximately one-half of autistic children develop normally until somewhere between 1 1/2 to3 years of age; then autistic symptoms begin to emerge. These individualsare often referred to as having ‘regressive’ autism. Some people in thefield believe that yeast overgrowths, vaccinations, exposure to a virus, orthe onset of seizures may be responsible for this regression. During childhood, autistic children may fall behind their same-aged peersin the areas of communication, social skills, and cognition. Also,dysfunctional behaviors may start to appear, such as self-stimulatorybehaviors (i.
e. , repetitive, non-goal directed behavior, such as rocking,hand-flapping), self-injury (e. g. , hand-biting, head banging), sleeping andeating problems, poor eye contact, insensitivity to pain, hyper-/hypo-activity, and attention deficits. One characteristic which is quite common in autism is the individual’s’insistence on sameness’ or ‘preservative’ behavior.
Many children becomeoverly insistent on routines; if one is changed, even slightly, the childmay become upset and tantrum. Some common examples are: drinking and/oreating the same food items at every meal, wearing certain clothing orinsisting that others wear the same clothes, and going to school using thesame route. A possible reason for ‘insistence on sameness’ may be theperson’s inability to understand and cope with different situations. Autistic individuals sometimes have difficulty with the transition topuberty. Approximately 25% have seizures for the first time during pubertywhich may be due to hormonal changes. In addition, many behavior problemscan become more frequent and more severe during this period.
However,others experience puberty with relative ease. In contrast to 20 years ago when many autistic individuals wereinstitutionalized, there are now many flexible living arrangements. Usually, only the most severe individuals live in institutions. Inadulthood, some people with autism live at home with their parents; somelive in residential facilities; some live semi-independently (such as in agroup home); and others live independently.
There are autistic adults whograduate from college and receive graduate degrees; and some develop adultrelationships and may marry. In the work environment, many autistic adultscan be reliable and conscientious workers. Is Autism a Disability?Well-adapted autistic people and autistic people who are close to beingadequately adapted to function independently have naturally brought up thequestion whether Autism should be considered a disability, or whether itshould simply be considered a somewhat different kind of personality. Onthe other hand, there are definitely autistic people who need constantsupervision and help simply to get through life.
CausesEven though there is no known single cause of autism, there is growingevidence that autism can be caused by a collection of problems. There issome sign of a genetic influence in autism. Currently, a great deal ofresearch has focused on locating the ‘autism gene;’ however, manyresearchers think that three to five genes will likely be associated withautism. There is also evidence that the genetic link to autism may be athrough the passing on of a weakened immune system. Other research hasshown that depression and/or dyslexia are quite common in one or both sidesof the family when autism is present. There is also evidence that a virus may cause autism.
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