Autism Essay Research Paper Autism is not

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Autism Essay, Research Paper Autism is not a disease, but a developmental disorder of brain function. People with classical autism show three types of symptoms: impaired social interaction, problems with verbal and nonverbal communication and imagination, and unusual or severely limited activities and interests. Symptoms of autism usually appear during the first three years of childhood and continue throughout life. Although there is no cure, appropriate management may foster relatively normal development and reduce undesirable behaviors. People with autism have a normal life expectancy. Autism affects an estimated two to 10 of every 10,000 people, depending on the diagnostic criteria used. Most estimates that include people with similar disorders are two to three times

greater. Autism strikes males about four times as often as females, and has been found throughout the world in people of all racial and social backgrounds. Autism varies a great deal in severity. The most severe cases are marked by extremely repetitive, unusual, self-injurious, and aggressive behavior. This behavior may persist over time and prove very difficult to change, posing a tremendous challenge to those who must live with, treat, and teach these individuals. The mildest forms of autism resemble a personality disorder associated with a perceived learning disability. The distinct feature of autism is impaired social interaction. Children with autism may fail to respond to their names and often avoid looking at other people. Such children often have difficulty interpreting

tone of voice or facial expressions and do not respond to others’ emotions or watch other people’s faces for cues about appropriate behavior. They appear unaware of others’ feelings toward them and of the negative impact of their behavior on other people. Many children with autism engage in repetitive movements such as rocking and hair twirling, or in self-injurious behavior such as biting or head-banging. They also tend to start speaking later than other children and may refer to themselves by name instead of “I,” or “me.” Some speak in a sing-song voice about a narrow range of favorite topics, with little regard for the interests of the person to whom they are speaking. People with autism often have abnormal responses to sounds, touch, or other sensory

stimulation. Many show reduced sensitivity to pain. They also may be extraordinarily sensitive to other sensations. These unusual sensitivities may contribute to behavioral symptoms such as resistance to being cuddled. Autism is classified as one of the pervasive developmental disorders. Some doctors also use terms such as “emotionally disturbed” to describe people with autism. Because it varies widely in its severity and symptoms, autism may go unrecognized, especially in mildly affected individuals or in those with multiple handicaps. Researchers and therapists have developed several sets of diagnostic criteria for autism. Some frequently used criteria include the following: Absence or impairment of imaginative and social play Impaired ability to make friends with peers

Impaired ability to initiate or sustain a conversation with others Stereotyped, repetitive, or unusual use of language Restricted patterns of interests that are abnormal in intensity or focus Apparently inflexible adherence to specific routines or rituals Preoccupation with parts of objects Children with some symptoms of autism, but not enough to be diagnosed with the classical form ofthe disorder, are often diagnosed with pervasive developmental disorder – not otherwise specified (PDD – NOS). The term “Asperger syndrome” is sometimes used to describe people with autistic behavior, but well-developed language skills. Children who appear normal in their first several years, then lose skills and begin showing autistic behavior, may be diagnosed with childhood disintegrative