Author Topic: Autism: Support services required  (Read 591 times)

Offline Rozina Akter

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Autism: Support services required
« on: August 17, 2013, 03:45:00 PM »
Autism is known as a complex developmental disability. Autism is a disorder of neural development characterised by impaired social interaction and verbal and non-verbal communication, and by restricted, repetitive or stereotyped behaviour. Autism presents itself during the first three years of a person's life. The condition is the result of a neurological disorder that has an effect on normal brain function, affecting development of the person's communication and social interaction skills. Autism Spectrum Disorder or Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disabilities that is caused by brain abnormality. A person with an ASD typically has difficulty with social and communication skills. A person with ASD will typically also prefer to stick to a set of behaviour and will resist any major (and many minor) changes to daily activities.

Parents usually notice signs in the first two years of their child's life. The signs usually develop gradually, but some autistic children first develop more normally and then regress. Early behavioural, cognitive or speech interventions can help autistic children gain self-care, social and communication skills. Although there is no known cure, there have been reported cases of children who recovered (Autism Society of Wisconsin, 2013).

A child with autism develops differently and learning may be unpredictable. It is important to note that autism in some cases is socially and emotionally constructed concept. We do not consider an autistic child as a normal child in the society. While a child without autism will develop in many areas at a relatively harmonious rate, this may not be the case for a child with autism. His/her cognitive skills may develop fast, while the social and language skills trail behind. On the other hand, his/her language skills may develop rapidly while the speed skills don't. Nonetheless, the social skills of a person with autism will not develop at the same pace as other people. How quickly a child with autism learns things can be unpredictable.

They may learn something much faster than other children, such as how to read long words, only to forget them completely later on. They may learn how to do something the hard way before they learn how to do it the easy way.

People with autism have social impairment and often lack the intuition about others that many people take for granted. Social impairment become apparent early in childhood and continues through adulthood.

Autistic infants show less attention to social stimuli, smile and look at others less often, and respond less to their own name. Autistic toddlers have more striking social deviance; for example, they have less eye contact and anticipatory postures and are more likely to communicate by manipulating another person's hand. Three-to-five year-old autistic children are less likely to exhibit social understanding, approach others spontaneously, imitate and respond to emotions, communicate nonverbally, and take turns with others. However, they do form attachments to their primary caregivers. They display moderately less attachment security than usual, although this feature disappears in children with higher mental development or less severe Autism Spectrum Disorder. Contrary to common belief, autistic children do not prefer to be alone. Making and maintaining friendships often proves to be difficult for those with autism. Data suggest that in children with mental retardation, autism is associated with aggression and tantrums. Dominick et al interviewed the parents of 67 children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and reported that about two-thirds of the children had periods of severe peevishness and about one-third had a history of belligerence, with tantrums significantly more common than in children with a history of language impairment.

According to the National Research Council (2001), children with autism have major difficulties in both their social and emotional relationships in a number of areas: a) They have low rates of social initiation with and response to peers; b) They show little nonverbal communication; c) they pay less attention to others' emotional displays than to their typical peers; d) they show less empathy or shared emotion.

The majority of children with autism show differences in emotional understanding as well. Sigman and her colleagues (1992, 1999) found that children with autism were less responsive to adults who pretended to injure themselves. They spent less time looking at the injured adult and were rated as showing less empathy than either typically developing children or children with Down syndrome. Sigman and Ruskin (1999) concluded that children with autism generally show a lack of social attention and are particularly deficient in attending to the faces of other people. Children with autism also have particular difficulty in their social relationships with peers. When Sigman and Ruskin (1999) compared children with autism to children with developmental delays, they found that the children with autism played in isolation significantly more often.

When these children were at indentation, much of their time was spent in self-stimulatory activities rather than in playing with others. Although they sometimes attempted to interact with other children, they initiated contact and responded to contact less frequently than children with other disabilities.

When children with autism did participate in social activities with other children and made social bids, those bids were accepted as frequently as those of other children. Once they began social interchanges, they lasted as long as those of other children. (S.R. Hooper & W. Umansky, 2010).

In contrast, most autistic children do not show special interest in faces and seem to have tremendous difficulty learning to engage in everyday human interaction. Even in the first few months of life, many autistic children seem indifferent to other people, lacking the eye contact and interaction with others that non-autistic children are expected to exhibit. Some infants with autism may appear very calm - they may cry less often because they do not seek parental attention or ministration. According to Simon Baron-Cohen, many autistic children appear to lack a "theory of mind," which is the ability to see things from another person's perspective. Children with autism often experience social alienation during their school-age years. As a response to this, or perhaps because their social surroundings simply do not "fit" them, many report inventing imaginary friends, worlds, or scenarios.

A major public health problem: Our perception of autism has evolved over time. Sixty years ago autism was nothing more than an unrecognised developmental delay generally lumped in with mental retardation. Today, it is recognised as an independent neurologically-based disorder of significance, a major public health problem, and a topic of much research. Every individual with autism is different, so each adolescent and young adult will require support services throughout the transition process. It is so important to start early, evaluate the child's likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, and make a plan to help create as independent and enjoyable a life as possible for him or her. The future may seem uncertain and scary, but taking proper steps during the transition to adulthood will help ease these fears.

Autism is a lifelong developmental disability. The lack of a single identified cause for autism leaves much to be discovered in the field. Theoretical causes, such as neurological and genetic, may prove to be a link to the true cause of the disability. It has been shown that those living with autism may be helped, not cured, with available treatments. Such treatments include a high dosage of Vitamin B6 in the diet and the Son-Rise Programme. Parents of autistic children deserve all the support and help they can handle (Roeyers, H. and K. MYcke, 1995). Autism spectrum disorders affect every area of learning, from social and emotional awareness to the ability to process language and sensory experiences and integrate with one's own environment. It is only with more information about the neurological differences in the autistic brain that we will fully understand the best way to teach persons with autism so that they might participate to their fullest potential within their community. We have to create consciousness among mass people of the society for eliminating the misconceptions on autism. The government should take serious note of the realities on rural and urban autism and create and provide opportunities for the betterment of autistic people.
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