Autism is a childhood disease where the child is in a private world oftheir own. A description of an autistic child by her mother is:We start with an image—a tiny, golden child on hands and knees,circling round and round a spot on the floor in mysterious self-absorbed delight.
She does not look up, though she is smiling andlaughing; she does not call our attention to the mysteriousobject of her pleasure. She does not see us at all. She and the spotare all there is, and though she is eighteen months old, an agefor touching, tasting, pointing, pushing, exploring, she is doingnone of these. (Groden 2)This is the most important trait in an autistic child: They don’t interact orsocialize with other people.Order now
Other characteristics in autistic children arelanguage retardation and ritualistic or compulsive behaviors. It used to bethought that children became autistic because of “poor parenting” and that theonly solution was that the parents should be removed from the child (Baron-Cohen26). Now it is known that autism is caused by biological factors due to:neurological symptoms, mental handicap, genetic causes, infections, and evendifficulties in pregnancy. Even though autism is thought of as a disease or disorder, autisticchildren can demonstrate special skills. These skills are referred to as”isolated islets of intelligence” (Baron-Cohen 53). Some examples of these arefound in an autistic child’s ability to draw, play music, or recall a certaindate.
Nadia, an autistic child, has the ability to draw in an “almostphotographic way” (Baron-Cohen 54). Autistic children can also play instruments,accurately sing songs, recognize structures of music, etc. A problem thatarises when autistic children are going through therapy is that they start tolose their remarkable skills. For parents to find out that their child is autistic can be very shocking. They go from having a bouncy, livey baby to a having a total stranger as theirchild.
Many therapies have been devised to help autistic children. Some ofthese therapies are: behavior therapy, speech and language therapy, holdingtherapy, music therapy, and the newest one, facilitation therapy. Since mostautistic children are different and their behaviors are different, one therapymay be more effective than another one. Facilitation therapy is catching on,but is already becoming a controversy. Although facilitation therapy is one ofthe most popular used methods in communicating with autistic children, it isbeing downgraded because of the controversies where the children are beingmanipulated by the facilitators. A child with autism can be detected by the age of three.
“If treament isstarted right away, the child may gain their normal functioning. This is acritical factor in reversing the disorder” (McEachin 105). Other elements inautistic therapy that are important factors in helping with the child are”observations, establishing relationships, and changing behaviors” (Simons 27). Once autistic children have made a relationship, they are brought closer to theoutside world. That is why facilitation therapy is so popular.
This kind oftherapy helps the outside world to communicate with the lost child. Theautistic child is supported by a facilitator who holds the arm, the wrist, orthe hand. This support helps the child to control his/her movements in orderfor the child to point to words, pictures, etc. In this way autistic childrencan express feelings or thoughts that no one thought they had. So why is there controversy over facilitation therapy ? The autisticchild is being observed, a relationship is formed between the child and thefacilitator, and the gap is being closed.
The problem with facilitation therapyis expressed by Dr. Green from the New York Times, “Facilitated communicationseems tantamount to a miracle, but it’s more like a self-fulfulling prophecy -you see what you want to see” (C11). There is always the chance that the childis not the one expressing the thoughts. Scientists in the New York Times “arelikening it to a Ouija board” (C1), because as people subconsciously move themessage indicator to get an answer to their question, facilitators can move theautistic child’s hand to what they want. Another argument against facilitationtherapy was in an article, the “Harvard Educational Review,” where threeconcerns were mentioned: 1) facilitated communication manipulated thehandicapped, 2) facilitation has never been proven valid, and 3) facilitationcontradicts “50 years of research in autism and developmental disabilities”(Biklen 110). It seems .