Autism 2 Essay

This essay has a total of 1100 words and 5 pages.

Autism 2

There are many diseases and disorders that plague today's society, but one of the most
serious of those disorders is autism. Autism is not nearly as widely known as the familiar
Down's Syndrome, yet, surprisingly, autism is far more widespread. In fact, autism is the
third most common developmental disability, affecting 400,000 people worldwide (Autism
Society of America). As of yet there is no cure for this debilitating disorder, only a
variety of treatments.

Autism is a developmental disability, not a mental illness, that typically appears during
the first three years of life and affects 15 of every 10,000 individuals. No one is
certain why it occurs, but researchers have found that MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)
scans of people with autism show abnormalities in the structure of the brain. Significant
abnormalities include differences in the cerebellum and in the size and number of Purkinje
cells within the brain. Sometimes there is a pattern that exists within families from
generation to generation. This indicates the possibility that autism is genetically
related. However, no gene has been found.

Every person with autism is different and there is no set type or typical person with
autism. This is because autism is a spectrum disorder, meaning that symptoms and
characteristics of the disorder can present themselves in a variety of ways, from mild to
severe. Usually children with autism have deficiencies in both verbal and non-verbal
communication. Their language develops slowly or not at all and they have very short
attention spans. They often lack social skills and will spend time alone, rather than with
others. In more severe cases, children have unusual reactions to physical sensations such
as being overly sensitive to touch or under responsive to pain. Most commonly, children
with autism lack imagination and imitate other's ideas, rather than initiate their own.
Lastly, behavior is greatly affected by autism. They may be overactive or very passive and
throw frequent tantrums, injuring themselves, for no apparent reason other than to gather
attention. They often lack common sense and show aggressive or violent behavior. While
some people only show one or two symptoms, others have all or nearly all and find it
extremely difficult to function in society. People with autism do live normal life spans
and the behaviors associated may change or disappear over time.

As of yet, there is no cure for autism. However, with the proper treatment, many of the
behaviors can be positively changed. Some of the treatments include behavioral training,
teaching of communication and social skills, auditory training, medications, and a change
in diet.

Behavioral training or modification, as it is also called, deals with changing or
extinguishing inappropriate behaviors and increasing positive behaviors. A few methods are
used to do this. One way is self-management where the individual monitors their behavior
and receives self-reinforcement. Another method used is modeling. This is when the teacher
or therapist demonstrates what is being done so the child can "model" the steps.
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