Autism and Psychology

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Autism:
"Man is by nature a social animal; an individual who is unsocial naturally and not accidentally is either beneath our notice or more than human..."(Aristotle, 328 B.C. in Aronson, 1995). We have been designed from birth to need and trust and socialize with one another in various ways. Yet, why is it so difficult for some but not for others. I have a four year old Autistic son that also has severe developmental delays due to prematurity and birthing complications. There are days that he gets frustrated at not even being able to communicate basic needs or just wants to be in his own world, left to his own device. That for anyone is rough, but knowing I am his mother makes it worse. Social interaction is such an important part of growing as not only a human being, but also for the brain. Even from the beginning of time man has leaned on the premise of needing that companionship and contact with the world around them. Being from the South, you are instructed and taught from day one to be cordial and have social interactions regularly with others in and out of your class, race, or religion. But what if you cannot convey and relate to the social customs? Does that mean you are to forever be labeled as a deviant, eccentric, or antisocial? If it is funding that you have mental issues you don’t discuss them or you are forever looked at as a child. Traditionally, that means that these individuals were ostracized, stigmatized and even eliminated for the good of the whole, as the compromised the very fabric of society by proposing to build a group of individuals, somewhat like a cult, that were interconnected forever( Aronson, 1995). Animal test subjects have been well conditioned to run through mazes or pressed bars for food or to avoid electric shocks administered by researchers; likewise humans comply within similar consequences. Furthermore, it has also been documented that behavior motivated by external consequences is relatively short-lived, ceasing with the consequence is no longer available (Thompson, & Iwata, 2001). This can even be seen when a mother is watching her children, and then steps out. The children understand to behave in both situations and the latter situation may have a punishment if that direction is not followed properly. Yet, as soon as the mother steps out, the non-conformist child will misbehave, only because of the punishment, even if the other sibling(s) is behaving themselves properly. Something stops a child like this from comprehending why this is wrong and what is truly acceptable. This may be in part to some issues with the connections to neuro-transmitters or lack thereof. Often times these children are not even motivated by reward systems, they will continue to misbehave at some point even when the mother returns, almost challenging her. Therefore, they will never be in society as an integral part, but as part of the problem. This, however, is not true for Autistic children. They wish to be the same, but again, the neuro-transmitters misfire and do not allow for them to ‘compare apples to oranges’. In 1943 Leo Kanner named such children as, socially withdrawn. He outlined the social disorder in 11 boys that he studied as an "autistic disturbance of affective contact" because of their apparent disinterest in other people and inability to be socially influenced (Kanner, 1943, in Frith, 1989). In spite of this, in 1984 the American Psychiatric Association, deemed this as a pervasive disorder, among others, and now it is simply known as Autism (APA, 1984). Over the past ten years Autism has been redefined again as the most complicated neurological disorder affecting the central nervous system of a large number of people. It is also the most confusing and pervasive of the developmental disorders as little is known for a cause, there is no cure, and treatments vary among individuals (Frith & Happe’, 1994). The typical stereotype of an individual with autism describes a...
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