Autism at a Glance Alex Shelton Indiana Institute of Technology Autism Spectrum Disorder is a disease that affects learning capabilities, social skills, and communication with other people. Diagnosis generally involves a questionnaire along with other screening instruments in young children. Common signs can be seen as young as infants and include poor social interaction, lacking in communication, and educational barriers. Autism is one of the most common developmental disorders and a ratio of four to one more common in boys. Indicators are wide and varied, but the most general side effects are poor communication not being able to verbally or non-verbally, repeated movement or speech, and social awkwardness. Autism at a Glance Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a disease that is characterized by social awkwardness, neurodevelopment problems, extreme intelligence in limited areas, and repeated patterns of behavior. The diagnosis of autism is generally given at a young age; as young as infancy. Common signs of autism need to be reported by parents and physicians, as they can go untreated and cause many problems down the road in the child’s development socially, verbally, and educationally. Autism is one of the most common development disabilities, but studies have shown young boys are four times more likely to have the disability than girls. Lack of language, communication, and vocabulary skills are one of the key indicators of autism. Autism affects your speech, your train of thought, your actions, and your ability to interact with others, but it does not make you any less of a human being. One of the most misunderstood developmental disorders is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), or simply Autism. Children, especially, have difficulty dealing with the disease, because of cruel and demanding social surroundings. They are considered “weird” and simply not accepted into the social norm. Most school administrators and teachers know if one of their students has ASD, but with the child’s lack of communication skills they cannot explain that to their peers. Most autistic children are outcasts in their age groups. Autistic children normally have some sort of movement that they do repeatedly. This motion is habitual and soothing and upsets them to stop. It could be tapping their fingers on the desk, bouncing their leg, licking their lips, or even sucking their thumb. Autistic children are also looked at as mentally retarded or ignorant, but in fact are extremely intelligent. Subjects, such as math and science that are concrete and not at all abstract normally are the subjects that autistic children like. The answers rarely vary and are not up for discussion. Math is not an estimate. It is exact. The Elements in Science are a constant and never change. Also, almost all patients with ASD are gifted with something. The gift can be with numbers, dates, or music. The diagnosis of Autism can be done at an extremely early age. Infants who have delayed motor skills, little or no speech, and who have trouble entertaining themselves may be candidates for autism. Autistic children also appear to have hearing problems, but in truth normally just do not respond to what is said to them due to poor communication skills. None the less, children should always be seen by an audiologist to ensure that a hearing problem does not exist. The initial screening involves a questionnaire and some simple screening tools such as an attention span monitoring. The actual evaluation, if problems are found, involves a psychologist, multidisciplinary team, neurologist, psychiatrist, speech therapist, and other professionals (National, 2011). Older children may have some other side effects that are more socially involved. Symptoms may include babbling about a certain topic that interests them, poor eye contact, no social responsiveness, and obsessive behavior. Autism can be reported all around the world. Most cases are caught within the first years of a child’s life, but can be reported as late as eight years of age. An adult being diagnosed is extremely rare, because of the essential differences socially and in communication. Boys are seventy-five percent more likely to be diagnosed than girls. Parents should be attentive to their child and seek counseling from the family physician to talk about concerns they might have. If problems persist, a specialist may want to be consulted. Parents should also notify their child’s day care provider, school nurses, administrators, and teachers to ensure that the proper action is taken, should a major episode happen. Communication is the key to success in today’s society, but with the disability autistic people have there needs to be early intervention. Parents should take their children to speech therapists and counseling to “practice” real world conversations. Counseling may include certain types of conversations, learning how to talk casually, and how to express feelings adequately. The counseling cannot stop when the session of counsel ends, however. Parents need to continue the “practicing” at home. This ensures that real life situations are handled as well as can be. Several instances can be cited about autistic children being hazed, bullied, and treated generally horrible. Having a disorder is hard enough and people should be more sensitive about how they treat others. Autistic children can be seen as hyper children, but really they really do not know how to interact properly so they appear to be “acting out” (Kenishiro, 2010). Medication and therapy can help an autistic person better interact with others, but the fact remains that they are always going to be seen as different. References Kenishiro, N.K., (2010). Autism. MedlinePlus. p1-2. National Human Genome Research Institute. (2011). External Health Links. Learning About Autism. p1-2.
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