“Before you assume, learn the facts. Before you judge, understand why. Before you hurt someone, feel. Before you speak, think.”
Autism comes from the Greek word ‘autos’ which means ‘self’ in English. Eugen Bleuler, a Swiss psychiatrist first coined this ‘autism’ a term for describing patient who are suffering from schizophrenia and exhibits a different way of thinking. It is said that this kind of thinking is viewed as autistic thinking whereas an individual bearing this kind of thought believes that the universe turns only around oneself, and the remaining effects of the external world will not have any effect on an individual’s personality (Nevid and Greene 488). Meanwhile in 1943 another psychiatrist named Dr. Leo Kanner has emerged from John Hopkins University who first applied the word in a group of children exhibiting the same behavioral and communication patterns. He described that the children lacked interest in socializing with other children belonging to the same age groups and is more interested in solitude than normal children. Their lack of interpersonal interactions is the reason Dr. Leo Kanner applied the term ‘autism’ to this group of children. Autism has been considered more than just a term during the past three years, implying that a particular person is not normal; thus studies about the particular cases regarding people with stereotyped behaviors who shows a slow development in learning a certain language. Although the origins of autism are clearly unknown, this case can be diagnosed through consulting a psychologist. Acquiring autism in every birth is not always constant and the chances of having an autistic child fall to the ratio of 5: 10,000 births, thus making autism is considered the one of the largest disabilities that affect children. During their childhood, few signs can be seen if a child has belonged to the autistic spectrum. Some children who have autism are known to resist affections by arching their back and restlessness on any physical contact. A normal child would be generally love to reciprocate the tenderly affection of their parents than autistic children, although, in some instances, other cases of autism in which people who have mild forms of autism prefers to be hugged by surprise or to be kissed; this is true to some people having the mild Asperger’s Syndrome. Edelson said that some autistic children are usually portrayed as being ‘easy babies’ to take care; until the baby grows up, that is the only time parents will notice a slight difference about their children when the child reaches the ages 2-3.
In diagnosing autism, the patient must exhibit at least six major signs categorized herein as interpersonal relationships, verbal conducts, behavioral and stereotype patterns, according to the fourth edition of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The manual states that there are degrees of studies by which a person or a child can be allegedly called, ‘autistic’. Autism also includes distinct traits such as disapproval of touching, heat, cold and pain tolerance, unusual sound fascination and different tastes. Moreover, most children also exhibit a fondness of laughing and crying without any clear reason at all and sometimes most of them does not display any emotions at all. Autistic people also tend to have repetitive body and object movement, known as self-stimulatory behavior. People belonging to the autistic spectrum is most likely to have an attitude of staring at the lights and moving their fingers in front of their faces whilst clapping. Recent studies made by scientists’ aims to determine the prime roots of having autism in children and adults. Their research came with the result that autism is the result of certain genetic mutations during the fetal development. In addition, environment stress can be the leading cause of autism. Although these research have their own point-of-views, other factors that the scientists look, for example, if the mother has been mentally incapable during the time of conception or if there are unidentified maternal illnesses that affected the birth of the child that leads to the bad flow of oxygen towards the baby’s brain.
The brain is divided into two hemispheres: the left hemisphere and the right hemisphere. The left hemisphere controls the brain functions over areas of language and cognitive aspects. In fact, a person whose brain areas for language and cognition that is affected by autism has formulated a psychological theory that people with autism has an impaired limbic system. However, this theory has not yet proven to be correct according to the Society for the Autistically Handicapped, autism diagnosed at a young age; the brain’s right side must work hard to accomplish the tasks that cannot be performed by the left hemisphere. Moreover, other theories explain that people within the autism spectrum have an inability to regulate sensory input, thus affects a person’s view of the real world, which is scientifically referred to as ‘perceptual inconstancy’. There is only little facts to be discerned for the neurological theories about the origins of autism in human, whereas some scientists believe that autism is most likely to be acquired via genetic mutation. This was spearheaded by Dr. Bernard Rimland in 1964 when he found out that monozygotic twins have a more active signs of autism compared to dizygotic twins. Dizygotic twins occur when a fertilized egg is divided into two whilst monozygotic twins happens when the one sperm cell fertilizes two eggs at the same time.
Asperger’s Syndrome also belongs to the autism spectrum and is named after Hans Asperger, a psychiatrist who first studied the case. People with Asperger’s are often referred to as ‘Aspies’, and they have a tendency to be more self-centered at times. Aspies can be characterized as an intelligent people within the borders of autism. They tend to see the world in a different way than ordinary humans. Oftentimes, they attached themselves to a particular thing that interests them, most especially in males. Male Aspies preferred gaming because they feel that the character that they are playing is an extension of their personality. Because of their nature, autistic children are bullied a lot in school, physically and emotionally simply because they lack the social skills to deal with people. Also, if a person has an autism, learning a language and understanding the spoken word can be difficult, and they will be needing an assistance or advise their comrades to speak slowly in a clear manner. People with autism have an extremely difficulty in understanding a conversation because in their perspective; any conversation that they hear sounds like a foreign language to them. Moreover, they also have difficulties in detecting sarcasm; instead of ignoring it, some autistic people might take some words on their literal meaning which makes them a vulnerable target for bullying due to behaviors. They also lack the ability to differentiate certain speech qualities like tone, pitch and accents, an essential ingredient towards the speech alteration, the reason why some autistic people have a flat, cold tone of voice and this makes them unable to understand when someone is joking or playing word puns. Autism varies from person to person, so to speak, not all cases of autism are similar. For example, I have worked as a care volunteer for autistic children before, and I have noticed two children under my care who have the same disability. For the sake of privacy, I will name them as Child 1 and Child 2. Both children have Asperger’s Syndrome, and according to the research, people with Asperger’s are very shy and self-centered. They are both shy and self-centered. Only the difference lies with some of their attitudes. Child 1, though extremely shy, loves to be hugged whilst Child 2, refused any contact with other people. There are other times that both of them lacks empathy towards other children, making them cold and distant. Usually, most people having Asperger’s have a heightened sensory processing disorder, which makes them very sensitive on different textures, increased irritability on loud noises, tastes and lights.
Rimland also searched for about parents’ claims about the direct relationship of autism behaviors to some vitamins. He argues that Vitamin B6 is a proven medication to be given to most autistic people because the special benefits of this vitamin helps to improve a person’s speech patterns, helps avoid sleep apnea, reduces irritability and self-stimulatory behaviors. He further argues that when all of these things are followed, the child will have a decrease in attention span. Usually this treatment requires 60-90 days continuously to get positive effects. Although there are other intriguing types of autism therapies existing as of these days; Facilitated Communication or ‘FC treatment’ is an example of this therapy. As for its methodology, the FC therapy requires an autistic individual to certain activities like typing, doing puzzle challenges or playing that allows them to exert muscular efforts. The FC treatment is conducted by a psychologist who acts as a facilitator to record a certain behavioral patterns shown by the patients. Clearly, autism has been considered as a disability, there is no clear fact about its origins and mostly scientists can only infer based from the patient studies. According to research, autism is categorized into six main types including Asperger’s Syndrome which is considered as ‘mild autism’. Aspies can still perform tasks like just like normal people and some of them are highly intelligent. Their imaginative ideas and creativity though make them a target for bullying; it can make them succeed later in life. Albert Einstein and Sir Isaac Newton are considered the ‘Most Famous People with Asperger’s Syndrome’. Rett Syndrome, a form of autism that occurs in women and girls and is regarded as a rare case and similar to Child Disintegrative Disorder. There is no cure for this syndrome and it is mainly caused by a mutation of female genes. Rett Syndrome is not inherited and there are only small cases in which this disorder is inherited. A person having Rett Syndrome is characterized by physical impairment, inability of communicating and sometimes mental retardation. Boys who have this of disability die after birth. Autism or Autistic Disorder is a general term that describes persons with autistic mindsets and whose symptoms can range from mild autism to severe autism.
Childhood Disintegrated Disorder or CDD, like Rett Syndrome can be observed rarely on various patients. This syndrome also caused by genetic mutations in the DNA of a person. Likewise, this type is not inherited nor contagious as most people would believe. It attacks both gender and no cure for this of autism. CDD makes the child unable to use his or her motor skills, communication and social interactions at young ages. Therapy is one possible solution for a person having CDD. Although there are several people who are characterized as neither normal nor fall within the Pervasive Developmental Disorder, otherwise known as PDD. A person who has been diagnosed to have PDD is not characterized as an autistic or a normal individual. They are able to function just as a normal person though with slight fault like inability to speak more fluently, barred speech patterns, frequent changes in behavior and mild autism symptoms. Scientists are still researching about the origins of PDD and generally, it is often omitted in some autism lists. Regressive Autistic Disorder, refers to autism that is characterized with total blindness, poor motion abilities and affects the brain’s language functions. People who have autism are dependent on other people since they need assistance to do everyday tasks. Unlike Asperger’s syndrome, other autism disorders cannot function like ordinary people. Though most of them, certainly imitate the body movements they see, most of them exaggerate these body movements which in turn, appear to be ridiculous or absurd to other people.
Statistics indicates that each Americans have autism as a disability; of course, one must recognize although there are no cure for autism, many varying degrees of managing autism has been developed through the years by scientist. Just as there are many different types and degrees of psychological maladjustment, so there are a number of different methods and techniques for helping people with autism in order for them to manage their psychological and emotional problems, and different professional groups administer different techniques. Professionally trained psychologists usually administer tests to detect autism at an early stage, discuss problems with them, and make certain recommendations. Psychoanalysts are medical men who have made a study of the basis of emotional disorders in the light of certain special techniques which are useful in autism therapies. On the other hand, there are physicians whose specialty is treatment of mental disorders including autism. There are four basic methods widely practiced in the attempt of autism management among people who have disabilities. First, counseling is a technique used primarily when problems arise in specific terms, in the realm of social adjustment. Psychotherapy has proved a great value in the treatment of a patient’s subjective emotional problems. Through discussions with a therapist, in which the patient reveals his innermost thoughts, anxieties, and fears, he gains an understanding of why he feels as he does, and gains help in learning to think and act more effectively. In a group therapy, a number of patients, each with his own problem, meet regularly for discussion. Under the supervision of a trained therapist, the patients gain new insights into their own problems from experiences and attitudes of the others in the group. Especially in the case of Asperger’s, since the people belonging on this autism spectrum are very shy and distant, group therapy is a very great solution for them to gather important facts on how to communicate with others and to maintain grasp on their emotions. When provoked, individuals having moderate to severe Asperger’s can be easily annoyed, provoked and gullible for other people. In addition, group therapies can make them more confident and knowledgeable about their disabilities and their talents. Throughout the whole session, the psychiatrist conducting the class, can create recreational activities that aim to hone their potentials and develop their natural skills. Lastly, Psychoanalysis is a form of therapy originally devised by Sigmund Freud. It is a thorough and extended treatment, in which the patient, meeting with his analyst on a regular basis over a considerable period, reveals his innermost thoughts, feelings and memories in a stream-of-consciousness manner. Recognizing the symbolic value of words, details of dreams and fantasies, odd slips in speech and writing, and set behavior patterns, the patient and doctor together explore the deepest bases of the patient’s personality, in an effort to restructure his personality along more meaningful and satisfying lines. Psychoanalysis has proved of great benefit even in cases of very severe autism disorder.
Some people with autism are dependent on their families because of their condition. Their inability and lack of intrapersonal interests make it hard for them to understand many things and conversations. Most autistic people are bullied whether at school, college or perhaps in their job since they are individuals having a unique characteristics than ordinary people. In the case of Asperger individuals, some of them have the potential to succeed in life due to their imaginative skills. Aspies have the tendency to get hooked easily on the things that interest them. Although, Asperger’s Syndrome is also a form of a much milder autism, individuals having Asperger’s are reliable and intelligent than their age. Though most of the time, they can be difficult to understand due to their speech deficiency. Of all forms of autism, one can conclude that Aspies are luckier than the rest.
Autism is a global disability that affects people, regardless of race, nationality and socio-economic status in the society. It has remained an incurable disability that until now, research has been conducted to further investigate the nature of its origins. Parents who have autistic children tends to be overprotective due to their vulnerability and trustful nature. Because of this, oftentimes, they became a target for ridicule and humiliation at school and one reason why most parents prefer private tutoring than schooling in order to protect their child from external dangers. In some parts of the world, schools specializing in teaching autistic children have been established in order to provide autistic people with a decent education. There are also communities that employ autistic individuals to train them in finding a job; most companies’ offer apprenticeships to Aspies since they can be dedicated to learning the whole job process. Because of their extraordinary sense of routine behaviors, scientists explain that Aspies can perform the job efficiently like a regular employee under strict supervision and careful guidance. Apart from this, having a job is already an achievement on their part since some of them are very afraid of having contact with other people aside from their own kin. Moreover, psychologists also adds that autistic people have a strong sense of friendship than normal people. Because of their innocent nature, they take seriousness in defending their friends on enemies. Based on observation, people with Asperger’s are the best person representing this criterion. They are trustful and kind. However, they have a strong sense of anger towards people who betrayed their trust. Only few Aspies can do this trait according to the research.
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