Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) forms one of the most common Neurodevelopmental disorder in children. Autism spectrum disorder is characterized by potential impairments in social, behavioral and communication. The following disease affects children in many ways, and different victims experience varying symptoms, some mild while others severe. Children suffering from ASD have social difficulties and lack interest associating with other children or even adults. Additionally, they face challenges expressing their feelings as well as avoidance of direct or physical contact. The disorder affects the communication process with more than 40 percent of affected children having difficulties in speaking. Other common characteristics include irritating behaviors such as spinning in circles, or flapping hands (Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 2011).
DSM-5 symptom criteria for ASD
DSM-5 provides the following diagnostic criteria for ASD. Firstly, the disorder presents constant difficulties in the social use of verbal and nonverbal communication that are evidenced by the following characteristics. The patient experiences difficulties in social communication. The child has challenges sharing information and greeting people in social gatherings. Additionally, the patient cannot communicate fluently and in understandable manner. The listener has difficulties understanding the exact message communicated by the patient. The patient uses different tones while speaking to different people and avoids the overall use of formal language. On the other hand, the patient experiences challenge during group conversation. The child fails to take turns in conversation. The patient also fails in making inferences and understanding simple proverbs, idioms and lacks a sense of humor.
Secondly, a person with ASD shows persistent and repetitive patterns of activities, behavior, and interests. The patient repeats the same activity for many times without pausing. Additionally, the patient has difficulties adhering to routines such as waking up for morning preps. ASD symptoms must appear in early childhood development although may not be fully manifested until the child engages in social activities such as learning. According to American Psychiatric Association (2013), DSM-5 criteria show that ASD patients start developing symptoms from early childhood. The criteria encourage parents to take their children for diagnosis if they discover any of the symptoms described. If the symptoms are not diagnosed earlier, the patient suffers major clinical impairment in occupational, social and other significant areas.
Prevalence rates and causes for ASD
Experts are still researching about ASD to determine its prevalence and specific symptoms. The year 1997 recorded more cases of children suffering from ASD in Brick Township compared to any other prevalence. The report by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (2015) showed the prevalence to be 6.7 per 1000 children. Additionally, CDC realized 7.8 percent of children between ages of 4 and 17 falls at greater risks of developing ASD. On the other hand, it is not known how many parents out there house children with autism.
Psychologists have not yet discovered major causes of ASD, but there are few studies that revealed some risk factors associated with the disorder. Genes form the primary risk factors that make children more likely to develop ASD. Additionally, ASD is a hereditary disorder; hence, children with siblings are at greater risks of developing ASD. Scientists also claim critical conditions of ASD occurs before, during, or after birth with children born of older parents is also highly prone to ASD (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2015).
Treatment options for ASD
Diagnosis and treatment of ASD are difficult because it combines formal and informal treatment processes. Treating autism employs intensive procedures where the entire family and a team of professionals are involved. Treatments take place at homes or in clinics depending on the strength of the disorder. The main treatment methods for Autism involve therapies such as occupation therapy, neurologist, and speech & language therapy. Children are expected to undertake 25 hours each week of full therapy. For example, the Speech & Language Therapy takes a daily duration of 45 minutes. The intervention model plays a significant role in treating children with autism. The model uses psychodynamic theories are commonly combined with the intervention theoretical model. On the other hand, intervention programs aimed at improving communication with patients and making them more open to the society are some forms of autism treatment and therapy. The Chelation process that involves administration of substances that remove heavy metals from the body also helps in treating ASD. The process takes place under the vaccines theory, but these treatments are not 100 percent effective (Gonzalo, María, Luis, and Fernando, 2011).
Mild Neurocognitive Disorder
Mild Neurocognitive Disorder forms one of the most common Neurocognitive disorders. It is the first type of disorder affecting people and failure to discover and treat it earlier results into major Neurocognitive Disorder. Mild Neurocognitive Disorder causes an impact on cognitive functioning. Cognitive deficits introduced by the disorder interfere with daily activities of the affected individual. Additionally, the patient has problems paying attention and forgets simple things such as phone numbers and home addresses. A person suffering from the disorder rarely notices its symptoms, but family, close friends, or clinicians can easily observe and detect symptoms. Despite the lack of a proper treatment for mild Neurocognitive disorder, clinicians argue that early detection could allow effective interventions. Treatments used during the earlier intervention of the disorder prevent slow progression of the disease to major stages. Currently, researchers are in the process of identifying the most appropriate treatment for mild Neurocognitive Disorder to prevent the extension of the disorder to higher levels (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).
DSM-5 symptom criteria for Mild Neurocognitive Disorder
All Neurocognitive disorders are characterized by an acquired decline in cognitive domains. Other people can easily recognize the cognitive decline in a person with Mild Neurocognitive disorder, and tests such as neuropsychological test battery help reveal the disorder. DSM-5 brought about beneficial changes in the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders, which prove to be more helpful for forensic and clinical practitioners. Mild Neurocognitive disorders do not cause substantial impairment but contain the following symptoms. Firstly, the patient suffers from a decline in past performances in certain cognitive domains characterized by changes in executive functions, complex attention, poor performances in class, memory loss, and social cognition. Evidence of modest cognitive decline can be observed by a close friend of a family member when the patient demonstrates constant changes in social and personal behavior. Additionally, a standardized neuropsychological testing helps determine modest impairment in cognitive performance (Simpson, 2014).
Secondly, cognitive deficits shown by patient suffering from mild Neurocognitive Disorder do not limit the person from performing normal activities. The patient continues with the normal life and doing complex instrumental activities such as taking medication, paying bills, and taking care of the family. According to Simpson (2014), DSM-5 for mental disorder documents revisions of diagnostic symptoms for mild and major Neurocognitive disorders. Initially, the term “mild” was not recognized in the manual until clinicians discovered patients used to suffer from mild Neurocognitive Disorder before acquiring the major Neurocognitive Disorder. The condition is diagnosable.
Prevalence rates and causes for mild Neurocognitive Disorder
As discussed earlier, Mild Neurocognitive Disorder is evidenced by a decline from past levels of performance in one or more area of cognitive domains. The prevalence of dementia is a good indication of the presence of mild Neurocognitive Disorder. Mayo (2015) claimed prevalence for Mild Neurocognitive Disorder increases with age and mostly affects older adults 60 years and above. At 65 years, the prevalence is approximately 1 percent. At the ages if between 80 and 85, the prevalence rises to about 30 percent. Additionally, the provenance keeps rising to reach 40 percent at the age of 90. The disorder accounts for approximately 60 percent of all cases of dementia. In the year 2013, the disorder has affected five million people older than 65 in United States. It is estimated that 7 million Americans older than 65 will have developed mild Neurocognitive disorder by the year 2025.
Mild Neurocognitive Disorder does not have a specified cause but results from multiple disease processes. Individuals diagnosed with diseases such as Alzheimer, Lewy body disease, HIV-AIDs, vascular disease and Frontal lobar degeneration are at higher risks of acquiring Mild Neurocognitive Disorder. Additionally, mood disorders, bipolar spectrum disorders are major causes (Mayor, 2015).
Treatment options for mild Neurocognitive Disorder
Scientists have developed models that enable clinicians use clinical data to test and treat mild Neurocognitive disorders. The dual-retrieval models theoretical tests the diagnostic criteria for testing Mild Neurocognitive Disorder and direct the best treatment option. The model uses a recall based technique that makes it possible to measure processes with clinical memory tests. The model determines the level of memory loss in an individual and determines the type of Neurocognitive Disorder present (Brainerd, Reyna, et al., 2014). Treatment for Mild Neurocognitive Disorder is by use of drugs or therapy. Common drugs proposed for treatment include cholinesterase inhibitors, memantine, and caprylidene. Non-pharmacological treatment options include emotion-oriented treatments, stimulation oriented treatments, and cognition oriented therapy.
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