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Living Through the Autism: Everyone Is Different  

  • Updated July 27, 2023
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As Dr. O. Ivar Lovaas once said, “If they can’t learn the way we teach, we teach the way they learn”, this leads us to believe that people with autism have severe problems understanding language and being able to express their essentials. They frequently have acting out behaviors as a result. Autism is a psychological disorder that affects not only how someone communicates and interacts with others, but also how the individual with the disorder may perceive a conversation. The definitive cause(s) of autism are not known and individuals present with a variety of symptoms and behaviors. There are a variety of theories that are used to explain the cause. I will however, point out the five types of Pervasive Developmental Disorders.

The five types consist of Autism, Asperger’s syndrome, Childhood Disintegrative d-Disorder, Rett’s syndrome, and Pervasive Development Disorder. People with autism tend to have problems with social interaction, pretend play, and communication. They also have a limited range of activities and interests. Many (nearly 75%) of children with autism also have some degree of mental retardation.

Like children with autism, children with Asperger’s syndrome have difficulty with social interaction and communication, and have a narrow range of interests. However, children with Asperger’s have average or above average intelligence, and develop normally in the areas of language and cognition (the mental processes related to thinking and learning). Children with Asperger’s often also have difficulty concentrating and may have poor coordination. Children with childhood disintegrative disorder, a rare condition, begin their development normally in all areas, physical and mental. At some point, usually between two and ten years of age, a child with this illness loses many of the skills he or she has developed. In addition to the loss of social and language skills, a child with this disorder may lose control of other functions, including bowel and bladder control.

Children with Rett’s syndrome, another very rare disorder, have the symptoms associated with a pervasive development disorder and suffer problems with physical development. They generally suffer the loss of many motor or movement skills, such as walking and use of their hands, and develop poor coordination. This condition has been linked to a defect on the X chromosome, so it almost always affects girls. The pervasive development disorder, not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) is used to refer to children who have significant problems with communication and play, and some difficulty interacting with others, but are too social to be considered autistic (University of Maryland Medical Center, 2015).

The disability results from problems in the nervous system, which is made up of the brain, spinal cord, and a network of nerves that allow us to think, move, and sense everything around us. Autism is a mental condition, present from early childhood, characterized by difficulty in communicating and forming relationships with other people and in using language and abstract concepts. With autism, there are different types and levels. There are five subgroups, which include Asperger’s syndrome, autistic disorder, pervasive development disorder, Rett’s syndrome, and childhood disintegrative disorder (University of Maryland Medical Center, 2015)

Children with autism have trouble with social and communication skills — most often, social interactions, language, and behavior, including repeating a behavior over and over. Autism is among a group of complex developmental disorders called autism spectrum disorders. Autism appears in the first 3 years of life, although it is sometimes diagnosed much later. Researchers don’t know what causes autism. Although there has been a lot of press about whether vaccines can trigger autism, many well-designed studies have found no link between autism and vaccines. Autism has no cure, but early and aggressive intervention may help parents and children learn to manage symptoms and improve their quality of life. (Autism, 2018).

Researchers do not know what causes autism, and there may be several causes. It may run in some families, and research shows that several genes may be involved. Many other possible causes have been suspected, but not proven. Some researchers believe that damage to a specific part of the brain, called the amygdala, may be involved. Other researchers are looking at whether a virus may trigger symptoms. Some parents have heard that the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine that children receive may cause autism. Several major studies have found no connection between the vaccine and autism. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that there is no link between autism and the MMR vaccine. Some doctors think the increase in the number of children with autism is due to better diagnosis and newer definitions of autism. The term “autism spectrum disorders” now includes a wider range of developmental problems. (Autism, 2018).

There is no specific test to diagnose autism. Children develop at different rates, and your child’s pediatrician will look at your child’s development during regular check-ups. Your child may need further evaluation if the child: is not babbling by 12 months, does not gesture (pointing, waving bye-bye) by 12 months, is not saying single words by 16 months, does not say two-word spontaneous phrases by 24 months (not just echoing), loses any language or social skills at any age, children with known or suspected autism will often have genetic testing to look for chromosome abnormalities and perhaps metabolic testing. (Autism, 2018).

There is no definite way to show a kid has autism or not. Autism needs to be taken care of right away. It is a serious disease that develops from the younger years. Growing up around the ages 3-12 can show symptoms of having the disease autism.

Children with autism do best with an early, intensive, appropriate treatment program. An experienced specialist or team should create a program specifically for your child. Many effective therapies are available. The best treatment plan may use a combination of these. Medicines are often used to treat behavior or emotional problems that people with autism may have. These include hyperactivity, impulsiveness, attention problems, irritability, mood swings, outbursts, tantrums, aggression, sleep problems, and anxiety (Autism, 2018).

Some children with autism seem to respond to a gluten-free or a casein-free diet. Gluten is found in foods containing wheat, rye, and barley. Casein is found in milk, cheese, and other dairy products. Not all experts agree that changing a child’s diet will make a difference, and a review of studies in 2008 found no evidence that the diets helped. However, some parents say they do see a difference in their children’s behavior. If you want to try a special diet, talk to a registered dietitian who has experience working with children with autism (Autism, 2018).

Skills of these children are being affected by this disease, which can cause them to have some mental retardation. In addition, children with autism may exhibit odd emotional behavior that is not easily understood by others. Children with autism’s social fears can manifest as compulsive behaviors and/or aggression. Many require order and routine to be maintained as they transition from one activity to another. They may endlessly repeat certain ordering behaviors that serve a self-soothing function. Changes to routine can easily frighten them, resulting in tantrums and aggression. Aggression is not always directed outward, but instead may result in self-injurious behaviors (Autism, 2018).

Some studies have suggested that vitamin B6 and vitamin C may help some children with autism. The studies examining whether vitamin B6 may help used doses that are higher than the recommended amount — enough to be potentially toxic. Do not give these doses except under a doctor’s supervision. Some doctors suggest adding magnesium to vitamin B6 because they think the combination may work better, although two studies did not find any benefit. One small study found that vitamin C supplements might help improve behavior in children with autism. The amounts used were high enough to possibly cause diarrhea. More research is needed on vitamin C and autism. One small study found that taking a multivitamin improved sleep and digestive problems in children with autism. If you are considering these supplements, it is important to talk with your doctor, a gastroenterologist (doctor who specializes in the digestive system), and a registered dietitian. You want to be sure that your child is still receiving enough calories, nutrients, and a balanced diet, and is not taking too much of a supplement (Autism, 2018).

Research shows that some children with autism have fewer symptoms after several weeks of touch therapy. In one clinical study, after 16 weeks of massage therapy for their children, parents said they felt physically and emotionally closer to their children and the children gave a range of cues to start massage at home. Several clinical studies have found that children who had Qigong massage, a type of massage that focuses on energy, showed an improvement in behavior and an increase in language development. They also had improvement in motor skills, sensory function, and general health (Autism, 2018).

Art therapy, music therapy, animal therapy, and sensory integration therapy provide opportunities for children who have autism to develop social and communication skills.

Art therapy offers a child a way to express his or her feelings without using words. Music therapy including singing helps develop speech and language skills. In fact, research shows that any music therapy may reduce symptoms for children and adolescents with autism (Autism, 2018).

Animal therapy may include therapeutic horse riding programs and swimming with dolphins. These types of therapies can help improve motor skills, while also building self-confidence. Some studies suggest that children who interact with dolphins learn faster and retain more information than children who learned in a classroom setting. Sensory integration focuses on helping children reorganize and integrate what they perceive with their senses so they can better understand the outside world. While there is little scientific evidence to say these therapies work, many parents and therapists say their child’s behavior and communication skills improve, and that the children seem to enjoy these therapies (Autism, 2018).

The motor skills can improve if they go to special classes and get help from professionals in the field. It is better to seek out help from people who have studied about this disease because if not cared for properly, it can be affected in the wrong way.

An author of a blog who wrote about autism mentions that “At present, there is enough scientific evidence to accord the status of “theory” to three different psychological conjectures on autism: deficits in theory of mind, executive function, and central coherence” (Autism, 2018). First, deficits in theory of mind can be seen as an exaggeration of gender based differences that are seemingly hard-wired to our brain. Asperger was the first brave soul to suggest that this syndrome was the extreme of the male personality. Simon Baron-Cohen has publicized this theory based on his own pioneering research spanning the spectrum from gossip to aggression, from evolution to everyday life, and from brain sciences to theory of mind. These differences reflect the way we systemize and develop empathy. Second, executive functions have a focus within the prefrontal cortex. Experimental work by Goldman-Rakic indicates that, according to the anatomical area involved, the frontal lobe exhibits different working-memory domains. The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex performs visuospatial processing. Working memory for the features of objects and faces occurs in the more lateral and inferior cortices, while semantic encoding and retrieval involves still more inferior and insular regions. It is easy to envision how a defect in working memory or executive functions can provide for abnormalities in language, thinking, and behavior. Lastly, central coherence is analogous to the binding phenomena studies in neurosciences. Weak central coherence, a pattern typical of autism, is a cognitive style that emphasizes low-level features in lieu of high-level integrative processing. Higher level integrative processing appears to be mediated by the synchronization of neuronal discharges on high- (gamma) frequency EEG. Unsurprisingly, investigators have recently reported a disorder of binding related gamma EEG oscillatory activity in autism.”

Though there are similarities between autism and the obsessive-compulsive disorders, these disorders are also distinct from one another. Autism begins in early childhood while the other disorders do not tend to manifest until early adulthood. There is also the matter of motivation to be considered. Autism is a brain disease reducing affected people’s capability for appreciating the existence of the social world populated by other feeling human beings. People with moderate and severe autism have difficulty appreciating that other people have different agendas than they do; it is in question whether they appreciate other people as having independent existences at all. This contrasts with people with OCPD who are hyper-aware of their social position.

Though both those with OCD and those with autism engage in repetitive obsessive behaviors, OCD compulsiveness appears to be motivated more by anxious attempts to self-sooth, while autistic compulsiveness may be motivated by their need to self-stimulate. At any rate, the disease process that creates obsessions and compulsions in OCD appears to have a different mechanism than the one responsible for autistic deficits. This means that people with autism could develop OCD as well as autism and receive both diagnoses. However, if this were to be the case, both disease processes would be occurring simultaneously. One diagnosis does not reduce to the other (Autism, 2018).

According to a site where it provides study guides, it states “Psychologists do not always agree on what causes mental illness. Some believe that psychological problems spring from problems in childhood that remain unresolved. Others believe that genetics can explain most mental illnesses. Still others think that learning bad habits causes psychological disorders. Many studies have shown that there are brain differences in people with a variety of mental issues. From depression to schizophrenia to autism, many psychological disorders can be traced to abnormalities in the brain. But what causes the neurological anomalies? That’s what physiological psychology tries to figure out.” (Autism, 2018). For example, physiological psychology might say that autism is caused by brain abnormalities, which are caused by some type of biological problem.

References

Cite this paper

Living Through the Autism: Everyone Is Different  . (2022, Mar 11). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/living-through-the-autism-everyone-is-different/

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