Autism Spectrum Disorder

Topics: Autism, Autism spectrum, Asperger syndrome Pages: 8 (1637 words) Published: February 22, 2015

Lexie Burrell
Psychology 101
Research Option Two
Due 12/3/14

The articles being discussed in this psychology paper claims that there are many other possible causes to autism besides just certain risk genes. It claims that parental history as well as social environment and location of where the mother lives are also factors in the brain development that can lead to autistic disorders. Autism usually occurs from certain genes the baby receives from its parents and it happens in the early brain developmental stage. There are many types of autism disorders and researchers believe that there are many different ways of getting autism which is why this particular author wrote this article. In the second article the author discusses when autism is discovered and how parents and practitioners do tests and studies to see if their children have ASD. It compares at which age the child is diagnosed with autism.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is defined as disorders characterized by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. Autism begins in very early brain development, although it doesn’t usually surface in children until the age of two or three years old. Autism develops from a number of different risks including certain genes and environmental factors during the pregnancy as the brain is developing. In the article “Outside In: The Autism Question”, the author claims that autism can be a result of parents having depression, anxiety, alcoholism and obsessive-compulsive disorders (Coplan May 3, 2011). The author, James Coplan, also provides studies stating that mothers who live in certain areas such as West Hollywood or near highways have more babies with autism. There are arguably many different reasons why children and babies have autism.

In one of the studies, babies born to women who live 300 meters or closer to a freeway or highway were twice as likely to be diagnosed with some form of autism as opposed to babies whose mothers didn’t. It is argued that the pollutants in the air near these highways are causing this higher rate of autism in children (Coplan May 3, 2011). There is no definite evidence on whether or not these highways are affecting the babies, but the facts lead us to believe that there is a higher chance of babies contracting autism if the mother lives near these polluted highways. Researchers need to measure the air pollutants near the highway to help identify what is causing this higher autism rate in babies.

Furthermore, it is noted that the rate of Autism Spectrum Disorder is higher in certain areas and zip codes around the world. West Hollywood topped the charts with four times as many children per capita having ASD than anywhere else in the state. In West Hollywood, the rate is one in every 69 children are diagnosed with autism as opposed to one in every 275 in California alone. In desert communities, like San Diego, the rate is one in every 500 children are diagnosed (Coplan May 3, 2011). The ongoing debate in this particular case is whether or not there is something in the swimming pools or if it is because the poorer communities can’t afford healthcare like Hollywood can. This would result in many babies not being diagnosed because they aren’t given the chance to be.

James Coplan, the author, states: “Prevention and cure are over the next horizon. For now, any claims of a definite cause or remedy should be taken with a healthy dose of skepticism.” (Coplan May 3, 2011). I think it’s good that the author acknowledges the fact that even though there are studies on these theories, everything should still be accepted with hesitation. I think the way the results were presented were good. Most autism studies are based more on possibilities rather than evidence, but I think the author used good evidence to help prove these theories.

To go along with the previous article, I chose...

References: Coplan, James. (2011, May 3). Outside In: The Autism Question. Retrieved November 29, 2014, from
Preschool Assessment for Autism. (n.d.). Retrieved November 29, 2014, from
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