Autism - General Overview of Autism

Topics: Autism, Mental retardation, Pervasive developmental disorder Pages: 5 (1549 words) Published: December 5, 2010
General Overview of Autism
What is Autism? Autism is defined as a disorder of early development that causes severe problems in thinking, communicating with others, and feeling a part of the outside world (Autism 2009). A person diagnosed with autism has a brain abnormality that affects normal brain function (Nordquist 2009). Most diagnoses of autism are usually never the same, even though, the symptoms are generally similar. Autism must not be confused with childhood schizophrenia or mental retardation, though the actions of children with these circumstances are sometimes related to that of autistic children (Autism 2009). Autism prevents children from developing normal social relationships, even with their parents (Autism 2009).

Infants and Autism
Autism is generally not diagnosed until two or three years old, but there is an extremely controversial argument on whether or not it could be diagnosed in infants. According to Canadian researchers, they could already see signs and symptoms of autism in infants at approximately six months old (Boyles 2005). The researchers believe that the infant is already predisposed with abnormal brain development inside their mother’s womb. The infants that Canadian researchers experimented were only limited to families that already had an older child born with autism (Boyles 2005).

According to research conducted in an article of Developmental Psychology, it is not possible to diagnose and infant with autism (Charman et al.,1997). The researchers conducted a study on thirty eight boys, separated into three different groups: Autism Risk Group, Developmental Delay Group, and Normal Group. The studies were based upon four different criteria: Empathy, Pretend Play, Joint Attention, and Imitation (Charman et al., 1997). Based on their results, it was not evident t to say whether or not a child could be diagnosed with Autism. This based upon the findings that children in the autism group and children in the developmental delay group were indistinguishable and the scorings were far too similar (Charman et al., 1997)

In another study conducted by Dalery et al., they compared young children and infants who were clinically diagnosed with autism or developmental delay (DD). The researchers were trying to differentiate whether the existence of symptoms of autism making it possible to be a different developmental disorder and whether or not the symptoms increase with age (Dalery et al. 2006). In the results from children under 26 months, the findings were insignificant and eerily similar to the experiment conducted by Chairman et al. They were unable to determine if the clear signs of developmental delay or autism were definite (Dalery et al. 2006).

Symptoms of Autism
Children diagnosed with Autism act differently from one another and no two autistic children have the same symptoms or act the same (CDC 2007). Children with Autism have severe impairments with social, emotional, and communication skills. Some have difficulty accomplishing everyday tasks and have to maintain a consistent day to day routine (CDC 2007). A symptom of autism that affects many autistic children is they have an intricate time holding a conversation. Thus, they tend to have a hard time making friends because of this impairment (CDC 2007). Another symptom of autism is repetitive behavior. This causes a stimulating effect on the child (CDC 2007). For example, a child may consistently rock back and forth, or flip the pages of a book over and over again. Autistic children have a difficult time managing in an everyday life. Once a child is diagnosed with autism, (usually between the ages of 2-4), it stays with them for the remainder of their lives (CDC 2007).

With the various symptoms of autism, repetitive behavior seems to be the most consistent symptom that is distinguishable in almost all autistic patients (Gray et al. 1995). To determine whether or not this is true, research was conducted in Australia. The...
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