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Autism Essay, Research Paper

Living With AutismImage how furious you would be if every attempt you made to communicate with someone went in vain, every action gone unnoticed, and they even seemed repulsed by your intent on communicating. You feel the need to reach out and help this person, however all that you feel is frustration building, consuming you, until you want to shake some sense into them. Sense is the one thing that can not be simply shaken into an individual with autism, and these are the feelings and emotions that family members experience on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis.Few disorders seem more confusing than autism. (Rapin 1997) Although most cases are not that extreme, over a half million people in the US today do have autism or some form of persuasive developmental disorder. (autism society 1995) This means that autism and its disorders are one of the most common developmental disorders seen in this nation. Then why do we know so little about it? Most health care workers and the general public are not even aware of what autism is and how it can effect a person s life, yet many people around the world work and live with this disease everyday.Autism can be defined as, a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life. The result of a neurological disorder that effects the functioning of the brain, autism and it s associated behaviors have been estimated to occur in as many as 1 in 500 individuals. (Centers for disease control and prevention 1997) It is known that autism is more common in boys than girls and does not prefer any race, ethnic group or social boundaries. Autism effects the areas of the brain which deal with social interaction and communication skills. Because autistic children often have difficulties in the area of speech and interactive play this disorder makes it difficult for them to interact with others. Autistics are sometimes said to be in their own little world with no interest in their surroundings and the activities of other people. Autistics are also sometimes known to have special skills, such as Bill Gates. Bill gates is an autistic and is also a highly inelligent man in the area of computers. The movie Rain Man is also an example, in this movie Dustin Hoffman plays an autistic who can memorize things like phonebooks by merely reading it once, and can count toothpicks dropped on the floor instantly. These high functioning autistics give all autistics hope and encouragement to strive to do the best they can do. Early research in autism led some researchers to believe that this disorder was a type of child schizophrenia. In research they found the children with autism to have some symptoms of schizophrenia, but children with autism did not suffer from the hallucinations and delusions that children with schizophrenia. It was also found that children with schizophrenia did not suffer from the same things as the autistic children, such as being fascinated with rotating objects, or being totally engulfed in self stimulation behaviors (hand flapping). Also many children with autism with never develop the ability to speak unlike children with schizophrenia. (Sigman &Capps 1997)Autistics can sometimes also show violent behavior and signs of aggression, and because they lack normal communication skills this aggression can be often misunderstood. Autism children may repeat body movement with such preciseness, it would be thought they were exceptionally bright, they may be seen flapping their arms or rocking also. They often have a high perception of their senses, such as a boy that has to smell anything and everything that he comes in contact with, even the hands of people he meets. All the senses can be effected by this disorder, not just the sense of smell. Autistic children often love music; they will sit for hours on end and listen, even experience the sounds they hear. They often enjoy the vibration that the music produces when held close to the body or ear. The underlying major effect of autism that most all other symptoms are branched off of is problems with change. Change is to an individual with autism as water is to a cat, if you force it on them someone s going to get hurt. Changes in external stimuli can dramatically affect the day to day regiments of autistic individuals. Simple changes that would be overlooked by an ordinary person could be a catastrophe in life for an autistic person.Autistics may act violent when they do not understand a situation, especially disciplinary action; for example, when a toy of choice is taken away. I don t believe that autistic act violent because they are angry, I think it is out frustration. The frustration that is expressed by the people around them, and their own frustration of not being able to communicate properly. When people don t understand something their first reaction is to get frustrated, then second comes anger.

Autism is not just a set disorder in which all sufferers have problems to the same degree. Each autistic is an individual and must be treated this way. Some may have problems making eye contact and holding a one on one conversation where others may have no problems in this area. Some have no eye contact problems but have problems in initiating a conversation, or in keeping up the conversation. When talking to an autistic person it may feel as if you are talking to yourself even though they are fully taking in and processing everything that you say.Autistics also can be different from day to day. An autistic person may be perfectly fine in a conversation on Monday, showing no signs of any problems with eye contact or engaging in conversation. Yet that same individual on Tuesday may have problems looking you in the eye and may not even respond to anything that you say to them. It may appear that they are in a daze, or distant. The environment around an autistic person can play a large role in their behavior and can determine a good day or bad day as far as communication goes.The best thing you can do to help an autistic child is to get them help early in life. Many schools suggest many different types of programs, but all agree the key to helping a child with autism is early and appropriate help. The right kind of program can make all the difference in an autistics child life. The wrong kind of education could leave an autistic child without simple skills like learning to ask for something they are in great need of in a store, or something as simple as using a pay phone. All of my sources agree that for a child with a more severe case of autism, a parent or a normal school situation is not the right way to go. They need to placed in a one-on-one educational program, or sometimes a small group activity with the proper instruction can be successful. But the teacher must be willing and capable to help the child, by fully understanding the child and his or her disorder. These programs must focus on positive reinforcement and be able to be flexible to change to work with the child s needs. Once a child finds a program that is successful, they still need to be reevaluated every so often to check on the child s progress and make any changes in the treatment that needs to be made. A good program will also teach the parents how to interact with their child and help their child to the highest degree. An autistic child can often cause the family a great deal of stress, having a child that often can not communicate is frustrating. Often the families don t know how to deal with the child s shortcomings. The right program for a child and an early treatment can make all the difference in an autistic child s life. Ideas that the medical industry first had about autism have since changed greatly. The once thought cures now seem totally outdated. To cure means to restore to health, soundness, or normality. (Autism-society 1995) It is now known there is no cure for autism only treatment, but with treatment a child may grow out of some of these symptoms. Some autistics may even seem normal to the untrained eye, and be able to live their lives without complications. Whatever the treatment though, parents, teachers, and therapists much work together and communicate to fully give the child the best opportunity possible. In conclusion, autism is a widespread disorder that has no boundaries, it does not discriminate. The chains that bind an individual can isolate them from the rest of the world, leaving them lonely and afraid to reach out for companionship. That would be an extreme case and fortunately not all cases are to that degree, although some people do cope with this disorder very well it is far from gone. With no cure in sight, due to the brain being permanently damaged, treatment is the only option available at this time. A one time dose in an easy to swallow pill form would be nice, but the treatment is a continuous training of the brain to cope with spontaneous situations, changes in environment, communication and interaction with the world around them. So next time you don t feel like opening yourself up to someone, because you feel embarrassed, just be thankful that you can.


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