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A boy with autism stacks up cans over and over again.

Autism is a life-affecting disorder characterized by a profound withdrawal from contact with people, repetitive behaviour, and fear of change in the environment. The emotional disorder affects the brain's ability to receive and process information. People who have autism find it difficult to act in a way that other people think is "normal". They find it difficult to talk to other people, to look at other people and often do not like being touched by other people. A person who has autism seems to be turned inwards. They may talk only to themselves, rock themselves backwards and forwards, and laugh at their own thoughts. They do not like any type of change and may find it very difficult to learn a new behaviour like using a toilet or going to school.

Autism is caused by the way that the brain develops, both before and after a baby is born. Autism is a "spectrum disorder". This means that some people who have autism are only mildly affected. These people may go to regular schools, go to work, and have partners and families. Mild autism is called Asperger Syndrome or "High functioning Autism". Some people are more badly affected. These people may be able to take care of most of their own needs at home like dressing and getting food, but not be able to have a regular job or travel alone. A person who has severe autism may need to be cared for all their life.

Autism runs in families. Parents with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder (including Asperger Syndrome) often have children with Asperger Syndrome or with more severe Autism. Some people who have autism are extraordinarily gifted or talented. These people are said to have savant syndrome.[1] They are often very good at just one thing in particular, like mathematics, playing the piano or remembering football scores.

About 1-2 people of every 100 have autism.[2]

Understanding the Types of autism spectrum disorders:

Over the past years individuals have been using the term autism and  autism spectrum disorder interchangeably according to an article from UCLA Center for Autism Research & Treatment Melinda Smith, M.A., Jeanne Segal, Ph.D., and Ted Hutman, Ph.D. stated that “When people use the term autism, it can mean one of two things. They may actually be referring to autistic disorder, or classic autism. But autism is often used in a more general sense to refer to all autism spectrum disorders. So if someone is talking about your child’s autism, don’t assume that he or she is implying that your child has autistic disorder, rather than another autism spectrum disorder.” 

In most cases when referring to the autism spectrum disorder we are referring to the most common disorders that are autism, Asperger’s syndrome, and pervasive developmental disorder. May might believe that all three are the same but that is not the case. All three may seem similar in symptoms yet are not the same. 

Signs, Behavior, and syndromes[change | change source]

Staying alone[change | change source]

A baby without autism will usually look at people talking, look at other people's faces, smile, and be interested in other people. Autistic babies, though, may like objects more than faces and other people. They may look for a second at a face, but quickly turn. They may not smile, or may just smile at what they are interested in.

Autistic children may usually like to be by themselves, without other people around. They may not be interested in making friends. They may also not react normally to hugging and other signs of love by their parents. This does not mean that they do not love their parents, they just do not know how to say it.

They may also not see other people's feelings; for example, they might not see much difference between whether a parent is smiling or being sad. They may laugh and cry at the wrong times.

Not talking[change | change source]

An autistic child might not try to talk, point, or otherwise try to get a message across by 1 year of age. Some do not understand their language at all. Some autistic people do not speak. When young, many mute autistic children can be taught to speak by teaching them that talking is a way to communicate ideas. However they may try to communicate using pictures in books, photos, signing or picture cards when they are non-verbal but have clear understanding of language.

Doing things over and over again[change | change source]

Some autistic people spend a lot of time doing the same thing over and over again, or be interested in unusual things; some might spend a lot of time spinning in circles, chewing their toes, or putting things in order. An autistic person might spend a huge amount of time putting toys in lines or patterns and may get angry if someone bumps something out of place.

Some do not want any change, and will do exactly the same things every day without change—such as what they eat, when they eat, getting dressed, brushing their teeth, or going to school—and may even get upset if any change takes place to this. They may also be interested in strange things and may spend all of their time learning about their interest.

What is the cause of Autism and is it treatable?

There is no concrete scientific documentation that states where and when autism came to be or a cure for it. However it is said that autism runs in families (genetically) but can have other factors such as environmental play a huge role. Since autism runs a spectrum a child can be placed any where on it and treatment for the children will differ. However, treatment usually falls in 4 different categories which are: First, behavioral working with speech and/or behavioral therapies that focus on the child’s social skills, sensory, and other areas). Second, medical or dietary  which requires working closely with parents if it dietary and at times might including get a nutritionist. Also, mediations can assist children in everyday activity such as focusing on a task but wont cure then. Third, is alternative therapy such as  musical instrument or playing them or art work. Last, occupational therapist or physical therapist if child has physical disability or needs help in everyday life task. Depending on the child’s need he can get treatment from one of the categories or all of the categories. 

History[change | change source]

The term/word autism “comes from the Greek word “autos”, meaning “self.” The term describes conditions in which a person is removed from social interaction—hense, an isolated self” (Dan Brennam, page 1)[3]

The term autism was first used by a psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler in 1911 to describe a group of schizophrenic patients who had lost seemed withdrawn. Two researchers by the name of Hans Asperger and Leo Kanner were the pioneers of the research study for autism in the 1940’s. Leo Kanner and Hans Asperger both worked separately in there research yet the information and theirs views on the children they studied became very helpful for physicians then and now.  Leo Kanner did a study of 11 children and found unusual things about them.   The children that he studied a range of difficulties ranging from changing environments problems, sensitivity to certain stimuli to difficulty  with activities, speech, and allergies to food. In 1944 Hans did a study that was extremely similar to Kanner’s which was the lonely thing was he didn’t have meaningless repetition of words or any linguistic problems like Kanner had. The one thing he did notice was the children’s motor skills (fine motor skills to be exact). The children he studied seemed to be more clumsy than a normal child would be.  He called it early infantile autism while Hans Asperger did another study on nearly the same thing. His discovery is now called Asperger syndrome, while Leo Kanner's discovery is called autistic disorder, childhood autism, infantile autism, or simply autism.

Niko Tinbergen, the ethologist, gave his Nobel Prize lecture on autism on 12 December 1973.[4]

Other websites[change | change source]

Reference[change | change source]

  1. Savant Syndrome: An Extraordinary Condition - A Synopsis: Past, Present, Future. Retrieved April 9, 2010.
  2. medical document containing prevalence
  3. "Error: no |title= specified when using {{Cite web}}".
  4. Tinbergen on autism