20 April 2018
Final Paper: Rough Draft
Autism is known as a complex developmental disability. The condition is the result of a neurological disorder that interferes with normal brain function. Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a range of challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech, and nonverbal communication. There is not one autism but many types which is caused by different influences.
In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the prevalence of autism had risen to 1 in every 68 births in the United States. (“What is Autism?”) Autism is more likely to affect boys than girls and is found in all racial, ethnic, and social groups.
Scientists are unsure what if any environmental trigger may be involved in autism. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, it was believed that vaccines caused autism. It has been disproven by numerous studies conducted in the United States and around the world.
The behavioral symptoms of autism often appear early in development. Many children show symptoms of autism by 12 to 18 months of age or earlier. Many parents are not aware of the early signs of autism. Autism in infants can be recognized by a lack of normal behavior rather than the presence of strange behaviors (Dixon). Children are not diagnosed by a professional until he or she is over two years old.
There are signs that could indicate that a child has symptoms as early as six months. Signs and symptoms can vary as well as the severity of the symptoms. Some of the early signs to look for a child may include:
Lack of smiling- By the age of six months, infants should be smiling or showing happy expressions.
Delay in babbling and cooing- Babies should typically be doing by 12 months of age.
Unresponsive to name- Parents who notice that their child is not responding to his or her name by 6 to 12 months are often concerned that there may be a loss of hearing and unaware it can be a sign of autism.
Poor eye contact- Severe lack of eye contact is an early indicator of autism.
Eye contact is a form of communication and comprehension.
Lack of Gesturing- Waving goodbye, pointing, or reaching for things is a milestone that should be reached by 9 or 10 months old.
Delayed Motor Development- Delays in motor development such as rolling over, pushing him/ herself up, and crawling is another sign of autism.
No special interaction- Disinterest in seeking attention or bonding is a sign that a baby may have difficulty relating to others as they grow up.
No single words- Babies tend to produce single spoken words as early as 6 months. If a baby hasn’t spoken any words by 16 months, it is a cause of concern.
(“Does My Child Have Autism?”)
Autism has changed throughout the years. In the 1980s, it was classified as a developmental disorder in the DSM-III for the first time. (“The 1980s) After autism was classified, it helped doctors correctly diagnose and differentiate autism from other disorders. Autism in the 1980s was common in 2-5 per 10,000 people. (“The 1980s”) There was two theories proposed after one study. The affective and cognitive theories were developed. People with autism are not able to comprehend others’ emotions is the affective theory. The cognitive theory is when people with autism have a problem with their social skills.
Doctors have come a long way with the study of autism. Diagnosis and screening techniques have increased the number of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1 in 110 children have autism up from 1 in 150 in 2007. (Smith) Schools are now able to identify and serve more students with autism after the federal government made autism a special education category.
There are many intervention programs and medical programs for autistic students. There is a clinical assessment. There are four types of assessments for autism. The autism assessment is for everyone who wants to test to determine if they have autism. A naturalistic observation assessment observes an individual in their natural setting and it observes their social skills. The dynamic assessment tests an individual’s motor skills and their learning potential. The audiologic assessment is for people who experiencing hearing loss have symptoms of autism.
Sometimes parents have a hard time adjusting to the fact that their child has autism. Some also have a hard time raising an autistic child. There are programs made to teach them how to handle their children with autism. One of the most popular programs is the Preschool Autism Communication Trial (PACT). It is used to enhance parent-child communication in autism and social and language development of the child. (Research Autism) Another program is the Applied Behavior Analysis. It is the use of techniques and principles to bring about meaningful and positive behavior. (Autism Speaks)
Autistic children sometimes have a hard time adjusting in school. Teachers make accommodations for students with autism. They give them extended time with their work, a modified test, a reader, and a scriber. A modified test is a change in the format or procedure that accommodates students with a disability. The teachers also give autistic students quiet time in the corner because sometimes the students can be sensitive to the sound and environment. The school also creates an Individualized Education Plan which is a plan designed for children with a disability receive special services.
Autism has become well known to many people around the world. It affects many adults and children as well their families. Many people can learn about autism to support and understand those with autism. There are websites such as Autism Research Institute and Autism Speaks where you can learn about autism. By learning about autism, people will be able to recognize the signs of autism.
Autistic children and their families sometimes need emotional support as well. There are blogs for family members to connect with one another to gain support. A few popular blogs is www.autism-blog.com, www.autismbyday.blogspot.com, and www.autismhelper.com. They also have support groups as well. For autistic children and adults an emotional support animal is used sometimes. There are many types of support animals. According to Emotional Pet Support, a dog, cat, rabbit and a mini pig can be classified as an emotional support animal. There is no age limit to gain an emotional support animal.
There are ways others can help support those with autism by advocating for autism. People can create fundraisers, sponsor autism walks, help autistic people be heard, and listen to their goals and help them achieve it. The federal government has passed the 2015 Autism CARES Act dedicating $1.3 billion in research funding for autism through 2019 (Autism Speaks). The government also expanded and improved healthcare for autistic people. There are organizations helping to advocate autism such as Autism Speaks, National Autism Society, Autism Research Institute, and so much more.
Despite the many strong opinions on possible autism cause, autism research is still looking for the true cause of autism; one that can be irrefutably proven by scientific evidence. Whenever that day comes, we can still advocate, support, and learn about autism.
“Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA).” Autism Speaks, 25 July 2012, www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism/treatment/applied-behavior-analysis-aba.
“Autism Speaks Advocacy Priorities.” Autism Speaks, 1 June 2017, www.autismspeaks.org/advocacypriorities.
“History of Autism.” Your Number One Autism Resource, projectautism.org/history-of-autism.
PetersS, Linda, and Fynn. “What Type Of Animals Can Be ESAs?” Emotional Pet Support, 27 Sept. 2017, www.emotionalpetsupport.com/2017/02/type-animals-can-esas/.
Sole-Smith, Virginia. “The History of Autism.” Parents, Parents, 6 Dec. 2017, www.parents.com/health/autism/the-history-of-autism/.
“The 1980s.” Autism Reading Room, readingroom.mindspec.org/?page_id=5660.
UK, Research Autism.
“Pre-School Autism Communication Trial.” Research Autism | Interventions | Pre-School Autism Communication Trial – Research Autism, researchautism.net/autism-interventions/types/parent-training-and-support/pre-school-autism-communication-trial-and-autism.