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  1. 1. Coker 1Haley CokerMs. TilleryBritish Literature27 October 2011 The Unique World of Autism Autism is a distinct malady in a category revolving around autism spectrumdisorders (ASD). Characteristics include “social impairments, communicationdifficulties, and restricted, repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior“(Autism FactSheet). The term relates towards the overall development issue that occur from infancy toearly childhood. The signs and symptoms usually occur before the age of three, but theydepend on the lack of communication and skills available within the brain. Althoughthere is no cure, early preventions have been recommended to prohibit the disease fromoccurring. The leading types of Autism include Asperger’s disorder, Kanner’s syndrome,pervasive developmental disorder, Rett’s syndrome, and childhood disintegrativedisorder, which portray different sub categories for different levels of disability orfunction (Evans). While some children begin to exhibit their symptoms during early infancy, othersmay begin normal development only to become withdrawn, become aggressive andirritated easily, or lose social skills they have already acquired. Young children whodevelop the disorder have a hard time noticing the feelings of others, and often cannotstand to be touched or embraced. They show repetitive movements, develop specificroutines, cannot stand change, and often use an object of interest to comfort them. Asthey mature, they become slightly more engaged with their social skills, but still continue
  2. 2. Coker 2to have difficulty with their speech and communication. A small amount of children withAutism are put in the category of “autism savants”; this sort possesses extraordinaryskills in the art, math, or music field (Autism, Mayo). Areas ranging from maternal age of conception to environmental factors havebeen blamed for the creation of autism spectrum disorders. Also, the number of vaccinesgiven to a child before the age of five plays a key role in suggesting the lack of braintissue existing for the child to function properly. Abnormal patterns like gastrointestinaldysfunctions, neuro-inflammation, decreased blood flow to key areas in the cranium, andoxidative stress have shown signs that could react to form various disturbances while thechild is in the womb. Prior to conception, a woman can improve her diet and lifestylehabits, begin an exercise routine, and add a source of Omega 3 to lessen her child’sprobability of being diagnosed with ASD. If the woman is already pregnant, she cancontinue a highly organic diet, avoid dental work, and supply herself full of protein(Research: How to Prevent Autism Now). The most common type of Autism, Asperger’s Disorder, revolves around theconcept of inability to socialize and lack of development of proper communication. Theyoften set a routine to live by, and become very aggravated if a change must occur. Theirmotor skills are considered “under-developed” which makes them clumsy and sensitiveto bright lights or loud sounds. However, children with Asperger’s are exceedinglyintelligent and almost always excel in a specific talent (Hassam). These talents vary fromeducation, to art or music. It is proven that children inherit this disorder from generationsthat exhibited history of depression and bipolar disorder. Scientists hypothesize that theresult of the disorder is damage to the brain tissue either before or during childbirth.
  3. 3. Coker 3Often, Asperger’s is misunderstood; the child wants a healthy relationship among theirfamily and peers, but they are unable to show and receive the emotions necessary toprove it. As they mature, their comfort level increases among select people. The comfortlevel rises the more the child is around the person, and is usually physically andemotionally attached to their family. Often enough, the child can absorb themselves in atopic and quote facts without being able to tell whether the person is interested in thetopic or not. This concept is helpful when trying to succeed among society, and can befully taken advantage of if the person is capable of living a normal life. Otherwise, thechild will be unable to interact with others. The disease will slow down theirdevelopment and ability to be social. Discovered and classified by Dr. Kanner in the 1930s, Kanner’s syndrome is themost severe of all. Ability to communicate is not an option, and they are limited to theamount of interaction available. This syndrome limits the amount of speech available, ifany. They lack the ability to get emotionally attached and are caught up in their ownthoughts. According to Mosby’s Medical Dictionary, the syndrome is based on “ritualsand compulsive behavior manifested by a resistance to change and repetitive acts”(Kanner’s Syndrome). Strong smells, bright lights, and loud noises affect their behaviorand can often lead to a disruption in their choreographed pattern. The only treatmentcurrently available includes psychotherapy and special education, which depends fullyupon the child’s capability and their comfort level. The “classic” form of autism, also known as Pervasive Developmental Disorder,reverts back to the idealistic form of autism. There is not an obvious difference betweenthe two; they go hand in hand with one another. However, it includes children that may
  4. 4. Coker 4possess the other four types, and it includes children that may not meet the requirementsof any of the four types depending on the severity of their symptoms. PervasiveDevelopmental Disorder is not limited to specific symptoms; they vary depending on thechild and their exact form of diagnosis (NINDS Pervasive Developmental DisordersInformation Page). Recommended treatment includes specialized classroom where thechild can build their social standards along with accepting instruction on a one-on-onebasis, and someone that is capable and experienced in the autism field of study. Thedisorder does not affect life span and is never fatal; it simply complicates the child’sability to understand concepts and emotions, along with change. Certain forms of Autism go completely unrecognized in the beginning. Rett’ssyndrome occurs strictly in females and is very rare throughout many of the neurologicaldisorders. The symptoms include the loss of muscle tone, apraxia, also known as the lossof motor skills, and irregular eye contact. Hand controls also become an issue and usuallyresult in constant, repetitive motions. The disease itself is divided into four stages startingbetween six and eighteen months after birth. Stage I often goes unnoticed since it tends tobe vague and can only be detected by slow development depending upon the age of theinfant. Stage II occurs when the child loses hand control along with spoken language.Stage III is considered the pseudo-stationary age, and is usually detected by seizures orapraxia. However, this stage can also show improvement among alertness, attention span,and communication skills. Stage IV can result in scoliosis and other muscle weaknesses.This stage is expected to last for years or decades (Rett Syndrome Fact Sheet). Girls withthis disease are diagnosed with mental retardation, and are expected to require personalcare for the rest of their lives (Hassam).
  5. 5. Coker 5 Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, another rare and late-showing form, usuallytakes effect between the ages of two and four. Once the disorder has fully developed, thechild loses language, motor, social, etc. skills they have already acquired. Symptoms thatare common to differentiate this disorder include lack of play, loss of bowel and bladdercontrol, and problems forming relationships with children and family members(Childhood Disintegrative Disorder). Childhood schizophrenia and PDD are oftenintertwined among this disorder; the most apparent symptom is the loss of skills alreadylearned along with isolation. The diagnosis usually requires “lost function in at least twoareas of development” (Autism, PubMed). The most common experimental treatmentuses steroid shots in order to hinder any progression expected. All in all, autism is a wide spectrum of many symptoms that require physical andemotional needs along with a mentor that is patient and understanding. The diseaserevolves around one other, but still retains their differences in order to determine how totreat different types of autism. ASD may vary, but it is shown among all different typesof ethnic groups, age groups, and gender. Males suffer from a higher risk of getting thedisorder, however females have their own specific form of autism. ASD’s most distinctfeature is the focus on the impairment of social interaction. Other features includerepetitive movements, loss of muscle tissue, the ability of becoming easily aggravated,and the lack of ability to control emotions. More advances and treatments are beingtested, and hopefully a cure for autism will be found.
  6. 6. Coker 6 Works Cited“Autism.” Mayo Clinic. N.p., 4 Apr. 2011. Web. 14 Sept. 2011.<>.“Autism.” PubMed Health. Ed. Neil K. Kaneshiro and David Zieve. National Library ofMedicine, n.d. Web. 12 Sept. 2011. <>.“Autism Fact Sheet.” National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. 09-1877ed. National Institutes of Health, Sept. 2009. Web. 13 Sept. 2011.<>.“Childhood Disintegrative Disorder.” PubMed Health. Ed. Benjamin W. Van Vorheesand David Zieve. A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia, 13 May 2010. Web. 13 Oct. 2011.<>.Evans, Rachel. “Five Autism Types Explained.” Iser Home. Special Education &Learning Disabilities Resources: A Nationwide Directory, n.d. Web. 15 Sept. 2011.<>.Hassam. “Types of Autism.” HubPages. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Sept. 2011.<>.“Kanner’s syndrome.” The Free Dictionary. 8th ed. Farlex, 2009. Web. 24 Oct. 2011.<’s+syndrome>.“NINDS Pervasive Developmental Disorders Information Page.” National Institute ofNeurological Disorders and Stroke. National Institutes of Health, n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2011.<>.“Research: How to Prevent Autism Now.” Autism Research Institution. N.p., n.d. Web.13 Sept. 2011. <>.
  7. 7. Coker 7“Rett Syndrome Fact Sheet.” National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. National Institutes of Health, 16 Aug. 2011. Web. 13 Oct. 2011.<>.