What Is Autism Essay Research Paper Autism

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What Is Autism? Essay, Research Paper Autism is a physical disorder of the brain that causes a lifelong disability. The many different symptoms of autism can occur by themselves or in combination with other conditions such as mental retardation, blindness, deafness,and epilepsy. Because children with Autism vary widely in their abilities and behavior, each symptom may appear differently in each child. Autism is also a spectrum disorder which means there are varying degrees to which someone can be affected from a high level of functioning, often called Asperger’s syndrome, to severe deficits where someone with Autism falls on this scale is usually related to a person’s cognitive skills and social behaviors. Autism is a common disorder of childhood, affecting 1 in 500

children. It often remains undiagnosed until preschool age because appropriate tools for routine developmental screening for Autism have not been developed. Early identification of children with Autism and intensive, early intervention during the toddler and preschool years improves outcomes for most young children with Autism. At this time it is believed that Autism has no single cause. Researchers theorize that several genes and/or environmental factors such as viruses and chemicals may contribute to the disorder. Several studies of people who have Autism have found brain abnormalities in several regions of the brain, including the cerebellum, hippocampus and amygdala. Neurons in these regions appear to be smaller than normal and have stunted nerve fibers. Some researchers are

exploring areas that are more controversial. Among them are vaccines, celiac disease and “rogue-peptides”. Still others are looking into whether Autism is an auto-immune disease caused by an allergic reaction to something in the diet that prompts the immune system to attack the brain. A major obstacle in Autism research has been the lack of measuring various treatments. Researchers currently use the Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS), The Gillian Autism Rating Scale (GARS), or The Autism Behavior Checklist (ABC). These are all used by different professionals to diagnose Autism. However, these are not to be used to measure effectiveness. The Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklist (ATEC) was developed by Bernard Rimland and Stephen M. Edelson of the Autism Research Institute.

The (ATEC) is a one page form designed to be completed by parents and teachers. It consists of 4 subtests: I Speech & Language, Communication (14 items); II Sociability (20 items), III Sensory/Cognitive Awareness (18 items); and IV Health/Physical/Behavior(25items). Because this scale is not copyrighted it may be used and scored free of charge. Although there is no cure for Autism there is an extensive amount of information regarding treatment. Since, no two children are alike therapy is to be designed on an individual basis to address different levels of ability. The inability of children with Autism to develop normal social skills is probably the most noticeable characteristic of Autism, if left untreated. Autistic children do not interact with others the way most typical

children do and, in those more severly affected, simply do not interact at all. They have great difficulty understanding and expressing emotions. People with Autism may appear to be very uninterested in others. They may avoid eye contact or seem extremely apathetic or unresponsive, showing no desire to initiate contact or to be held or touched. The most common responses are tantrumming, leaving the situation or drawing into themselves. This inability to relate to the world is one of the most frequently notes characteristics of Autism. The second major syptom is speech and language problems. A frequent component of speech issues is called “echolalia”, a parrot-like repeating of what the child has heard. Echolalia can occur immmediately or be delayed. A child with Autism may