Autism and Asperger syndrome

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1.Autism and Asperger syndrome

1.1. Autism

According to Ami Klin, autism is the condition there is marked and sustained impairment in social interaction, deviance in communication, and restricted or stereotyped patterns of behaviors and interests. This means that the person, suffering from autism syndrome has a big difficulty in social and communicative skill development and later, using the knowledge of those skills. Also, the author of this article notices the restricted interests of a person. Leo Kanner also noted unusual responses to the environment, which included stereotyped motor mannerisms, resistance to change or insistence on sameness, as well as unusual aspects of the child's communication skills such as pronoun reversal and tendency to echo language. During 1950’s, the reason of autism was very unclear. The scientists had a belief that the etiology of autism was the lack of emotional response of parents towards their children. However, this belief has no longer right. In 1960’s the numerous researches began started bringing up the real evidence of autism. It is the brain disorder, which caused the people to act in a certain way. This disorder was proven to be present from infancy. The social, material, cultural status of the person had nothing to do with the disorder. In 1978, Michael Rutter suggested his own definition of autism. He based his definition on 4 criteria: 1) social delay and deviance not just a function of mental retardation; 2) communication problems, again, not just a function of associated mental retardation; 3) unusual behaviors, such as stereotyped movements and mannerisms; and 4) onset before age 30 months.

The delay of the social development can be understood by the absence of will to participate in communication with other people, especially peers. Autistic people have a little understanding of social interaction. It is caused by the social deviance. The social interaction seems like a complete mess to people suffering from autism. What may seem very natural to other people may be the most difficult problem to solve for autistic people. Due to absence of natural social development, people with autism syndrome, need to put extra effort in order to be able to understand social situations. In this case, the only solution is to take special lessons in order to gain basic social understanding and skills and be able to take part in social interaction. Social deviance may be understood as the absence of idea what is going on around an autistic person. It can also be understood as chaotic understanding of social situation. The people with autism do not understand the order of things which are happening in the communicative situation.

What is more, autism makes it difficult for a person to understand context, body language and emotions of other people. Autistic people need to put a lot of their effort in order to understand someone’s body language, however, for some it may seem impossible due to the total absence of fundamental understanding or disturbance of outer environment. Facial expressions, position of the body, eye contact and arm movement may not take place while communicating with autistic person. This may lead to unnatural body position (turning away from the addressee), absence of body movement when it supposed to come natural, and, misunderstanding of cues, emotions and intonations of what has been said. The result of misunderstanding the intonation might lead to understanding of what has been said in a direct way. In some cases, the autistic person may learn to understand the basic skills of body language; however, they can be fully dependent on the environment. “When I am stressed, my sensory system processes sounds too loud. It means that if I am in a room where there is a radio mic, I can hear the whistling while the volume of others sounds are not modulated either, so it can be distracting and hard work paying attention.” states Robyn Steward, a person with autism....
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