Autism

Introduction

Autism is mental disorder disease that affects the development of a child’s ability. The disease is manifested in children in their first three years after birth.

The disorder is characterized by impaired communication, social interaction and repetitive or restricted behaviors among the sufferers. As such, the problem affects information processing in a child’s brain leading to problems in organizing and making connections between different things and events.

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This is one of the disorders in the autism spectrum (ASDs) apart from Asperger syndrome and pervasive developmental disorder-Not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) (Krebs, Mike, and Richard 23). However, despite these, mental diseases such as Autism Spectrum are not as problematic as one may think as they can be treated.

Mental Disease

Definition

Autism us a neural development disorder that affects children below the age of three years. The disease affects the brain of a child hampering information processing. This, therefore results to impairment of social interaction and affects communication. A child is also faced with a problem or repetitive behaviors.

Complications

The disorder results into speech retardation, impairment of social interactions and display of repetitive behaviors. The disorder sometimes may be complicated and challenging to deal with it on its own. These complications make it complex for treatment programs. Some of the complications of the disorder include sensory problems as a person suffering from this disorder may be sensitive to sensory input which at sometimes are painful ad discomforting (Mental Disorders para. 6).

These problems may also fail to respond to react to pain, heat, and cold. Seizures is another common complications and usually begins in young children with the disorder. Others include tuberculosis sclerosis which causes tumor to grow in the organs like brain, mental retardation includigng fragile x syndrome, a common mental retardation problem exhibited in males. Others include aggression, digestion problems and not common eating or sleeping habits among children.

Types

There are different types of autism that have been recognized in the autism spectrum (ASDs); autism, Asperger syndrome which is exhibited in young children. The children lack or delay in their language and cognitive development. The third type is the pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) (Morrison 45). This is only diagnosed when the other two disorders; autism and Asperger have not been met

Autism Spectrum

Definition

Autism spectrum is a developmental disability that is caused by an abnormality in brain. People suffering from this disorder have difficulty with communication and social interactions.

Origin

The word autism came into limelight in 1938 when Hans Asperger adopted the terminology of Blurter’s of autistic psychopaths during his lecturer on child psychology in Germany. He was investigating on the ASD now Asperger syndrome. The word in his 1943 reports called infantile autism Kanner used the word in reference to children who exhibited striking behavioral similarities. However, the words became widely used and known as a separate diagnosis in 1981.

Types

There are a number of types of this disorder. This includes autistic disorders or classic autism, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified or atypical autism, Rett syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder and Asperger syndrome.

Asperger Syndrome

Definition

This is one type of autism and has some slight difference with autism. People suffering from this disorder have a problem in their language development. The language is either lacking, or delays or is deviance (Frey and Kathleen 3). They further lack cognitive delays and in most cases they develop an obsession in one topic of interest or activity. Other symptoms related with these disorders include inappropriate social behaviors, uncoordinated/clumsy poor movements, peculiarity in their speech and language, repetitive routines and many others.

Origin

The disorder is one of the new diagnoses of the autism. The disorder is named after Asperger Hans (1906-1980) a psychiatrist and pediatrician from Australia. The disorder or the term was recognized in formal manuals of diagnostics in 1990s.

Effects

Because of these, disorders, people suffering from this disorder have problems with interacting/associating with others. There, language and speech is impaired, have impaired social behaviors among many other characteristics that enable their interaction impossible.

Rett Syndrome

Definition

It is a neuro-developmental disease that affects the grey matter in the brain of a person. This disorder appears in females only (Ishmael 5). The disorder is characterized by a number of deficits after the child is born. On its onset, the disorder is associated with decreased growth of head, the child losses the hand skills. The disorder also results to loss of language and social engagement and lastly there is also poor physical coordination.

Origin

The syndrome is named after its discoverer Dr. Rett Andreas in 1983. He noted that children with the syndrome normally developed well between their first 6-18months of their development.

Effects

The people that suffer from this disorder are at risk of developing gastrointestinal disorders. Most of them also suffer from seizures and have nonverbal skills. Other effects of the disorder are constipation and growth failures that may be a problem to the lives of the individual.

Pervasive Development Disorder

Definition

This is a pervasive disorder that is exhibited among children. It affects the cognitive ability of children hampering effective social interactions and communication (Frey 32). In this disorder, its signs are visible in babies but can only be diagnosed after the child reaches four years.

Origin

Pervasive development disorder is one of disorder on the autism spectrum. Its origin is associated with a Swiss psychiatrist Blueler Eugene in 191. The concept since then has developed by other psychiatrics and pediatricians who carried out researches and investigations such as Kanner.

Effects

The disorders affect the social functioning skills of children. For instance, a child may be very eager in interacting with friends or classmates but may act socially different from the main stream peers hence making un genuine connections (Samuels 31) They also have a problem with understanding figurative languages/speech and sarcasm. They also does not speak at the recommended age and their speeches is repetttive

Detection

Lack of social skills

Children or individual suffering autism are detected from their behaviors. One of the aspects that is used to identify these people is their lack of social skills. These infants show no or less attention to social stimuli in their environment. For instance, they rarely smile, they are shy and look at others less, and they are known to respond less to their names. These children are also less talkative and will not form relationships with others.

Speech Complications

Speech complications are yet another way of detecting the disorders among children. Differences in speech may be evidence for the first year after their birth. This may include unusual gestures, delayed beginning of bubbling, and diminished responses, unsynchronized vocal patterns that do not resonate to their caregivers. These children often repeat same words because of the lapses in their nerves hence affecting their speech.

No eye contact

These children have impaired social interactions behaviors. For instance, they cannot sustain an eye contact because of their disorders. They also have less turn taking and cannot use simple movements as a way of expression such as pointing at something that they may want. This disorder is a result of the mental lapse that halts effective coordination of the child.

Effects

Dependent on other

People suffering from this disorder cannot support themselves for their own upkeep. They therefore have to depend on caregivers to provide them with basic needs and help them in per taking their day-to-day lives. They cannot sustain themselves because of the lapses in their mental ability.

Lack of friends

Because of the stigma and lack of enough sensitization, people suffering from these disorders are alienated. They lack friends because of their conditions that is perceived to be abnormal. Therefore, this widens the gap between them and the mainstream society making such people to be looked upon as being of no value to the society.

Lack of full education

Most of children suffering from this disorder are not taken to school by their parents. This is because of social stigma that the society has attached to the mental health problems (Autism- a Developmental Issue, Not a Curse [interview para. 5). Parents and caregivers, hide the children, hindering them from being provided with health care. This therefore, affects the children as they canto access to education in their condition.

Treatment

No known cure

Discovering or learning that your child has an autism spectrum disorder can be an overwhelming experience to caregivers and parents. Even though, despite the efforts and research, still there is no known cure for the disorder. However, certain treatments and education programmes/approaches maybe used in reducing the challenges that are associated with the problem.

For instance, use of interventions in reducing/lessening disruptive behaviors and educating on self-help which allow for independence may play a significant role in containing the prevalence of the disorder.

No real treatment

No single treatment is effective in treating people on the spectrum. However, people should use positive aspects of their conditions for their own benefits ("Autism.” Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection para. 5). Nevertheless, treatment needs to begin at an early stage and be tailored to the person’s /child unique weaknesses, needs and strengths.

Behavioral and educational approaches can be used; communication, sensory and other interventions can be used. Furthermore, biomedical treatments such as addition of minerals and vitamins, immune systems, modification of diet, immune system regulations, gut treatments among many others.

Research/Public Awareness

CDC campaigns

Many people are not aware of the autism disorders. Ignorance is one of the factors that have led to increased cases of late identification of the disorders. Therefore, it is important that campaigns and sensitization campaigns are done to inform the public on the disorders and where they can get treatment and education.

Center of Disease control and Prevention (CDC) campaigns have helped to greater height in educating and sensitizing the public on the disorders (Samuels 6). The centre has played an important role through educating the public through seminars and workshops around the globe.

Autism Awareness Month (April)

Autism awareness month is normally in April. During the month, the public is sensitized about the disease. Various media are used such as television, radio, internet among many others. Parents are mostly targeted as they are the ones who stay with their children more.

Coping with Autism/Autistic Family Member

Influence on siblings

The disorder has negative influence on children as well as the parents and the general family members. Therefore, coping with the disorder is a difficult experience in most of the families with such cases.

Sibling rivalry

One of the challenges is witnessed among the siblings. There is always a tendency of children to demonstrate rivalry between themselves and this often leads to conflicts among them. There is down look on other siblings that have these disorders by those that are normal.

Sibling relationships

The relationship among children in a family with children suffering from this disorder varies from family to family. Some children will be supportive and offer assistance to their fellow colleagues while others will show resentment and will always distance away from them. Therefore, this may lead to negative relationships in the family between the siblings.

Influence on parents

Parents play an important role in ensuring that children with these disorders are well taken care off. Therefore, their support is important.

Stress between parents

Many parents with children with such problem are often stressed. It is an incidence that is not expected by them. Therefore, they are agonized with the problem and in most of times, they blame one another. This incident may result to a conflict making the relationship to break. It is also a stressful situation that makes the parents to hide their children under carpet for fear of stereotype from society.

Divorce, separation, or improved marriages

The disorder may also lead to either divorce, or may improve the marriage of the parents depending on different circumstances. Many people will not want to be associated with the problem hence as a way of de-linking from the problem or for fear of ridicule by the society they may decide to divorce or separate (How to Solve Three Puzzles para. 5).

Furthermore, the increase in the resources and expenses in maintaining/supporting the children compels many parents to separate. However, other parents may unite and support each other in ensuring that the child with the disorder is well maintained and provided with the necessary requirements.

Extended Family Effects/Influence

Extended families are also faced with these problems. In this setting, children are not accorded the attention that is required because of the increased responsibility of maintain others. Many children with these disorders may not receive the required attention hence making them suffer more. Nuclear families may provide the support as opposed to the extended families.

Conclusion

Autism like any other disorder should be accorded the attention that is deserved. The conditions can be discovered in early life of a child. Proper treatments and diagnosis is important. Parents and caregivers should be aware of the required treatment and diagnosis to provide early medication.

Health groups should ensure that there is enough sensitization and awareness campaigns to inform the parents on the disorder. This will help in reducing the rates of the disorder. Furthermore, parents need to support their children by providing them with the requisite needs.

Works Cited

"Autism- a Developmental Issue, Not a Curse [interview].” Africa News Service 13 Dec. 2011. Gale Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 14 Feb. 2012.

“Autism. Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection. Gale, Cengage Learning”, 2010. Gale Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 14 Feb. 2012.

Frey, Rebecca.“Pervasive Developmental Disorders.” The Gale Encyclopedia of Genetic Disorders. Ed. Brigham Narins. 2nd ed. Vol. 2. Detroit: Gale, 2005. 1007-1010. Gale Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 14 Feb. 2012.

Frey, Rebecca, and Kathleen, Fergus. “Asperger Syndrome.” The Gale Encyclopedia of Genetic Disorders. Ed. Brigham Narins. 2nd ed. Vol. 1. Detroit: Gale, 2005. 113 116. Gale Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 14 Feb. 2012.

“How to Solve Three Puzzles.” Newsweek 21 Jan. 2008: 64. Gale Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 14 Feb. 2012.

Ishmael, Holly. “Rett Syndrome.” The Gale Encyclopedia of Genetic Disorders. Ed. Brigham Narins. 2nd ed. Vol. 2. Detroit: Gale, 2005. 1114-1116. Gale Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 14 Feb. 2010.

Krebs, Mindy, Mike, McDaniel, and Richard, Neeley. “The Effects of Peer Training on the Social Interactions of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders.” Education 131.2 (2010): 393+. Gale Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 14 Feb. 2012.

“Mental Disorders.” Current Issues: MacMillan Social Science Library. Detroit: Gale, Cengage Learning, 2010. 13 Feb 2012. .

Morrison, Erin. “A Review of Research on the Use of Weighted Vests with Children on the Autism Spectrum.” Education 127.3 (2007): 323+. Gale Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 14 Feb. 2012.

Samuels, Christina.“CDC Campaign Focuses on Autism Awareness.” Education Week 2 Mar. 2005: 4. Gale Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 14 Feb. 2012.

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