Autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life. This is the result of a neurological disorder that affects the functioning of the brain. Autism is four more times prevalent in boys than girls. Autism shows no racial, ethnic or social boundaries. Family income, lifestyle and educational levels do not affect the chance of autism's occurrence. Autism and its associated behaviors have been estimated to occur in as many and one in 500 individuals. In this essay, I will discuss the signs and symptoms of autism, types of autism, the diagnosis of autism and studies done on autism. Autism affects the normal development of the brain in the areas of social interaction and communication skills. Children and adults with autism have difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interactions and leisure or play activities. This disorder makes it hard for them to relate to the outside world. It is hard for them to communicate with others. Aggressive and/or self-injurious behavior may be present in some cases. They may exhibit repeated body movement, such as hand flapping or rocking, unusual responses to people or attachments to objects and resistance to changes in routines. They possibly will experience sensitivities in the five senses of sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell. Children will be within the pervasive development until the ages of 24-30 months, when parents may notice delays in language, play or social interaction. If any of these symptoms occur by themselves, that would not result in a diagnosis of autism. Autism is a combination of several developmental challenges. There are many symptoms of autism. They include: extreme difficulty in learning language, inappropriate response to people, avoiding eye contact, resisting being picked up or cuddled, uncooperative play with other children, extreme hyperactivity and many others. There are five major areas in children highly affected by autism. They are communication, social interaction, sensory impairment, play and behavior. Every person with autism has a unique personality and combination of characteristics. Some autistic people mildly affected may exhibit only slight delays in language and communication and greater challenges with social interactions. The abilities of an autistic child may fluctuate from day to day due to difficulties in processing, concentration or anxiety. They may show evidence of learning one day, but not the next. Learning can be affected by external stimuli and anxiety. They may have average or above average verbal, memory or spatial skills but find it difficult to be imaginative or join in activities with others. Individuals with more severe challenges may require intensive support to manage basic tasks and needs of day to day living. Contrary to popular belief, many individuals with autism make eye contact, show affection, smile, laugh and demonstrate a variety of other emotions, although in varying degrees. Like others, they respond to environment with both negative and positive ways. Autism may affect their range of responses and make it more difficult to control how their bodies and minds react. Sometimes motor, visual, and/or processing problems make it difficult to maintain eye contact with others. Some autistic people use peripheral vision rather than looking directly at others. Sometimes the closeness or touch of others may be painful, resulting in withdrawal. Several related disorders are grouped under "Persuasive Developmental Disorder" or PDD- a general category of disorders, which are characterized by severe and persuasive impairment in several areas of development. A PDD is diagnosed when a specified number of characteristics are present. Diagnostic evaluations are based on the presence of specified behaviors indicated by observation and through parent consultation, and should be made by a highly trained team. Thus, when professionals or parents are referring to...
Cited: Autism Society of America, http://www.autism-society.org
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