The only information that I had ever known regarding autism came from a nineteen eighties movie called Rain Man. Even then, the thought of it was quickly lost in the archives of my mind. Not until I had a child of my own did I realize the significance of autism and the effects that it has on the children of which it afflicts and their families. A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded that almost one out of every one hundred and fifty children was affected by Autism. Even more alarming is the fact that it affects one and every ninety-six boys. Other than its prevalence in boys, Autism has no known boundaries (Autism Society of America, 2008).
What is Autism?
Autism or Autistic Disorder as it is also often called is a neurobehavioral disorder that falls under the umbrella of Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD). It and several others including; Asperger’s and Rett’s Disorders, Childhood Disintegrated Disorder, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) fall under the general category of PDD. Each has slight variations in the symptoms (National Dissemination Center for Children With Disabilities, 2007).
It is most often diagnosed in children between the ages of one and three years old. It affects social development, communication, and cognition. There is not concrete time table for the onset of symptoms related to Autism. Many children develop at a normal pace for the first year and a half of their lives before they become symptomatic whereas some show signs at birth (Edelson, 2007).
Socially, children with Autism are often unfazed by the events that are happening around them and tend to stay focused on one particular thing. They may appear to not hear their parents when being called for and prefer to play alone. Many resist cuddling and also avoid eye contact when speaking. Children also find it difficult to communicate with others. Speech development is usually delayed. They