17 October 2010
As Temple Grandin once said, "If I could snap my fingers and be nonautistic, I would
not, because then I wouldn't be me. Autism is part of who I am." (Quotes about Autism).
According to the Autism Society of America, Autism is a complex developmental disability that
typically appears during the first three years of life and affects a person’s ability to communicate
and interact with others (Autism Society of America). Autism used to be the term for anyone
with a particular condition, but now there are so many different categories dealing with different
disabilities and how the child functions that no children will be diagnosed the same, even though
there are many things that they have in common. Statistics show that autism has risen to 1 in
every 110 births in the United States, and almost one in 70 boys is affected by it. Even though
science and medicine are working tirelessly to find cures to the many diseases that plague human
beings today, Autism is still affecting the lives of various children and their families; this disease
has various types, causes, and treatments to consider.
There are five different types of Autism, according to severity. The first type, and less
severe is Asperger’s Disorder. Children with this disorder are usually misdiagnosed at first, and
are just thought to have OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive disorder) or ADD (Attention Deficit
Disorder). Children with Asperger’s are highly unskilled and have problems communicating with
others. They also obsess with patterns of all types. Children with this disorder have above
average language but they do not communicate well. Because they have motor skills that are
underdeveloped, they are very clumsy.
The next type of disorder is Childhood Disintegrative Disorder.
This disorder is pretty rare and strikes children who appear to have normal development at birth.
Children with this disorder begin to regress, and often do not potty train. They will lose the
ability to interact with other children and will lose an interest in play. They will also have
problems with the motor skills that were something they at one time had mastered. They will
stop talking, or their communication skills will regress to some degree. This disorder usually
comes after a serious illness effecting the brain and nervous system. This disorder is associated
with seizures and is more common in boys (Evans).
Another type of Autism is Rett’s Syndrome is rare and relatively little known type of autism and
it seems to only happen in girls (Evans). Children with Rett’s Syndrome have muscle atrophy
problems, hand motions that are repeated, and a tendency to have seizures. These children most
often seem to have more of a mental disability. Unlike most children with any kind of autism,
children with Rett’s Syndrome seem love attention and affection and choose people over objects,
whereas most autistic children choose objects over people. Pervasive Developmental Disorder is
another type of autism. Children with this disorder are very high-functioning and only researches
or doctors know they actually have it. A child that seems to have some of the symptoms of
autism, but not all of the symptoms, the child is known to have Pervasive Developmental
Disorder. The last form of autism is Kanner’s Syndrome. Kanner’s Syndrome is the classic
autism disorder. Children with this disorder have very little connection with anyone and they like
to be in their own world. These children want the same routines for everything all the time.
Noises, smells, and bright lights tremendously affect these children. Most children with Kanner’s
Syndrome are low functioning but they are known to be very intelligent, though they don’t know
how to do most things because of bad social and communication skills.
Causes of autism are a very controversial subject to many people. Some believe that autism is
caused by vaccines. Some parents and researchers believe that the measles-mumps-rubella
(MMR) vaccine causes autism because there is evidence of the measles virus in children’s gut,
spinal fluid and blood. They believe that thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative which is fifty
percent mercury, may be what causes autism. Because many people are worried that thimerosal
could be the cause of autism, manufactures have removed it from many vaccines. Another
theory of causes is genetics. Researchers suspect that there are a number of different genes that
when they are combined together, it increases the risk of autism (autism causes). According to
Tami Gronseth, a mother of an autistic child, she said “I believe that somehow it is
environmental. The overload of chemicals effects the DNA affects the genes in kids. Maybe it’s
because I grew up on a farm in with pesticides, or maybe it was something I was around when I
Autism seems to occur in children more frequently if they have other medical problems
including Fragile X syndrome, tuberous sclerosis, congenital rubella syndrome, and untreated
phenliketonuria, or known as PKU (What Causes Autism). Researchers also believe that harmful
substances ingested during pregnancy could be linked with autism. Researchers have studied and
found that in twins, 60 percent of the time both children will have autism. In a family study, if
there is one child in the family, there is only a two to eight percent of another child having
autism also. Environmental factors could be another cause of autism. Children with autism are
known to have heavy metals and other toxins in their body from chemicals in the environment.
Those with Autism have a metabolism problem and can’t get rid of these toxins as well people
without autism. The heavy metals and toxins in the body are known to cause a “fog” in the brain.
Because there is no exact cure for autism, there are many different types of treatments that
people have tried. One of the treatments is a Gluten free/casein free diet. Children with autism
cannot digest gluten and casein properly. Gluten is in things like wheat, barley, rye, oats, bulgar,
durum, and other things. Some products like baking powder, soy sauce, bouillon cubes,
vegetable or modified food starch, sauces, and sauce mixes could also contain gluten. Casein is
in all dairy products like milk, cream, ice cream, cream cheese, sour cream, cottage cheese and
so on. Based on the article of Treatments for Autism, it is based on the hypothesis that these
proteins are absorbed differently in children with autism spectrum disorder and act like false
opiate-like chemicals in the brain (Treatments for Autism).
Because of not being able to digest gluten and casein correctly, the opiate-like substances alter
the person’s behavior, perception, and responses to things in their environment. Another
treatment that many people use for autism is Sensory Integration Therapy. Sensory Integration
Therapy is the process through which the brain organizes and interprets external stimuli such as
movement, touch, smell, sight, and sound. Autistic children often exhibit symptoms of Sensory
Integration Dysfunction (SID) making it difficult for them to process information brought in
through the senses. (Treatments for Autism). Many therapists use things like trampolines,
swings, scooters, water mattresses, large balls, body pillows, slides, toys, clay and bubbles for
the Sensory Integration Therapy. Lynn M. Hamilton states in her book, Facing Autism that
through “play”, the therapist helps a child understand what he’s sensing and organize is senses.
Sometimes the therapist also carefully exposes him to negative sensations to lessen his
sensitivity to them. (facing autism). Tami Gronseth stated, “Therapy is huge, and starting at a
young age is a big thing.”
Parents, doctors and researchers have also found improvements using speech therapy with
children diagnosed with autism. The Article of Treatments for Autism states that all children
with autism differ depending on intellectual and social development of that child. It also states
that some children can’t communicate at all, and others can communicate very well on and can
carry on lengthy conversations on subjects that they have an interest in. Some autistic children
may not have a hard time using language, though they have a problem with knowing what to say,
how to say it, when to say it and how to socially interact with people. Most children with autism
will just say things that don’t mean anything to people or say something with no information.
Others may repeat things that they have heard or repeat things that they have memorized. Some
children with autism with speak in a very high-pitched tone or use robotic sounding speech.
Therapists use two pre skills for language. The first pre skill is joint attention. Joint attention uses
eye gazing and gestures like pointing, showing and giving. The second pre skill that is used is
social initiation. Many autistic children like many social things in life so social initiation is
things like questioning, and make less of a so called statement that many children with autism
tend to make. Speech therapy is most effective in the preschool years, along with other types of
therapy as well. Another type of therapy that is often used is Applied Behavior Analysis, or
known as ABA. According to Lynn M. Hamilton Applied Behavior Analysis teaches complex
tasks by breaking them down into bite-size pieces that can be learned more easily, with each
piece building upon the previous one. Rewards, called “reinforers are given for correct responses
or behaviors while inappropriate responses are corrected, ignored, or redirected (facing autism).
Detoxification is another thing that many children with autism go through. Lynn M. Hamilton
says that everyday our bodies obtain unwanted substances (toxins) that can be harmful. (facing
autism). Toxins may be external, like heavy metals, pesticides, or other contaminants, as well as
the residuals of good things like medications or food that are taken from our environment
through or food, air or water. (facing autism). To rid your body of toxins, it is a two-step process.
Many researchers and doctors believe that autistic children don’t get rid of toxins as well as
“normal” people do. Many people are trying pills that act as magnets that attract the metals and
rid them through the urine in the body. Researchers and doctors are finding that this detox is
working, and it is releasing the “haze” that fogs the brain.
Autism is still affecting the lives of various children and their families; this disease has various
types, causes, and treatments to consider. Science and medicine are working tirelessly to find
cures to the many diseases that plague human beings today because as one mother of an autistic
child stated “each child with autism is different and you have to be willing to try different things
with each child.”
Annotated Works Cited
"Autism and Environmental Factors." Exploring Autism. 2005-2010.Web. 06 Oct. 2010
This website tells about what effects environmental factors can have on children that could cause
autism. I thought this website had pretty general information, but I did use it in my paper.
"Autism Society of America: About Autism." Autism Society of America:. 21 Jan. 2008. Web. 18 Oct.
This website was a very good website that gives a lot of information about what autism is. It also
gave statistics about autism. I used both the definition of autism that it gave, and the statistics
that it gave for my paper.
Baker, Jeffrey P., and Dennis Clements. "Does the MMR Vaccine Cause Autism?" DukeHealth.org.
2004-2010. Web. 06 Oct. 2010
This website tells about how MMR vaccine can be related to causing autism. I thought this was a
pretty reliable website, and I used this information to explain what MMR is and why people
think it causes autism.
Evans, Rachel. "Five Types of Autism."ISER.Web. 06 Oct. 2010
This website tells about all the different types of autism and gives people a good understanding
between the differences of each one. I thought this was a good website, and I used all of the
information that it gave to describe the types of autism.
Gronseth, Tami. Personal interview. 24 November 2010.
I interviewed Tami because she is a mother of an autistic child. I used her quotes for the causes
of autism and it gives it a real-life experience. This was good to do because I believe that it will
show people what families with autism live with.
Hamilton, Lynn M. Facing Autism. Colorado Springs: WaterBrook Press, 2000. Print. Page 120
This book had a lot of valuable information that I used. It talked about different types of
therapies, and it also talked about detox. I used both of those for my paper.
“Quotes About Autism”. The Autistic Self Advocacy Network.Web.2009. 18 October 2010.
This website gave a bunch of quotes from people about autism. I thought this was a very great
website. I used the Temple Grandin quote about autism for my paper.
"Treatments for Autism." Autism Speaks.Web. 2005-2010. 06 Oct. 2010
This website tells about all the different types of treatments that people have used to treat autism.
I thought this website had great information. It explained a lot of the treatments that were used
for helping autism.
"What Causes Autism." Autism Society of America. 06 Oct. 2010 .
This website talks about both genetic causes and environmental factors that could deal with
autism. I thought this was an okay website, but I did use the information that it gave me.