Autism and Aspergers's Disorder
Autistic disorder and Aspergers's disorder are subgroups of the larger pervasive developmental disorders as it's commonly referred to in the United States and autism spectrum disorders in Europe. Brain abnormalities are normally associated with the disorders but there is no consistent cause known and the biology that underlies the occurrence in human beings is not full understood. It was elevated to a diagnosis in the 1940's but a lot is still unknown about the condition. Currently it's estimated that over 500,000 people in the UK alone have an Autism disorder. That translates to one person in every 100. (Bupa, 2007). The disorders are more common in boys compared to girls.
Autism and Aspergers's Disorder is known to develop early in childhood. Birth defects are thought to a cause of the disorder but none has so far been scientifically proven. Genetics may play an important role in the transmission of the disorders where the parents of an offspring may be containing recessive genes of the disorders that get expressed in their child. In analyses of the disorder patients some family members especially were observed to display mild characteristics of the disorder. This has given impetus to the above hypothesis that it may be caused by genes which get transmitted and later on render the patient vulnerable to the attack of the disease. other experts also concur that ASD's are caused by the defects and abnormal ways in which the brain develops before or soon after the birth of a child (Bupa, 2007). Diagnosis can be done by the second year by doctors who have specialized on the condition. Speculation also has been around that it may be caused by the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine. This cannot however be substantiated since the safety of the vaccine is beyond question. the disorder does affect the learning abilities of the children who posses it. Math, drawing and music may prove to be unpopular with the children with Aspergers's disorder.
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People with Aspergers's syndrome show difficulty in social interaction and repeated and restricted behaviors. However linguistic and cognitive development does take place in cases where the disorder is reported hence casting a crucial lifeline to the sufferers. It also eases the task of those involved in trying to help the victims to adapt to the best social life that they can possibly achieve. No cure or effective treatment of the disorders has been obtained. Any remedial steps taken follow the symptomatic behaviors that are exhibited by the patients. (aspergers.com). Psychosocial and psychopharmacological interventions are applied in the control and treatment so far available. . (aspergers.com)
There communication is affected by the disorders. Children may not know even how to point by the age of two. Language difficulties are experienced while starting and keeping of conversations may be difficult. This really affects their social lives when the reach adulthood.
No effective cures have been discovered although research is ongoing. Treatment as said earlier only applies t o specific symptoms. Various therapies are also applied both at homes and by professionals. Early diagnosis is especially beneficial and can go along way in rectifying the situation.
Critical Thinking Questions
To refer a person or a child for that matter for treatment for an autism disorder will require careful examination and observation of symptoms of the particular suspected case. The symptoms will more or less likely point to the behaviors which will aid in the judgment made by a practitioner to refer one for medical help. There are three main problems that are associated with autism disorders. They are communication, social development, and interests and behavioral imagination of the children. (Bupa, 2007).
Development of the usual speech skills is limited in children who are likely or who have developed an autism disorder. Even the non verbal skill which normal children exhibit is devoid of the children development in cases where the condition is likely to develop. Trouble on understanding all aspects of the written and spoken word may accompany the retarded development in speech. In sever cases they will rely in symbols and pictures in their efforts in communication. These children may have difficulty in making friends and going through the usual normal interaction that children go through from toddler stages to late childhood. Expression of affection to other people is a problem to them because they lack the necessary social skills that they do not posses due to their impaired mental capabilities. Interest in repetitive activities is dominant in the children who show signs of an autism disorder. That means they lack interest in play activities that involve acting and pretense among kids. In later stages like teenage they may develop obsession in various interests.
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The behaviors that are observed for especially from the provided texts are consistent with the symptoms that are described above. They are results from the thinking and acting of the patients that suffer from the autism disorders.
They tend to dwell on one topic even and the difficulty to change one topic after it relevance is over in that particular moment (education.alberta, 2003). They continually blurt out information and have difficulty in holding their thoughts. They will repeat words they have heard over and over again. (Bupa, 2007). They may engage in inappropriate interrupting, difficulty in using unwritten rules and inability to maintain a conversation (education.alberta, 2003)
These patients find it difficult to follow simple social rules in school or at home .there minds seem to be fixated on something that they want to do no matter what a figure of authority has to say. Insistence on following the laid down rules and procedure sometimes seems to them as harassment and they may insist on doing thing their own. They have formed their own definition of what is good for them and what to do and at what time.
They are unable to make friends with other children. This casts them as antisocial which may not be of their own making. They cannot voluntarily participate in other children's activities unless they are urged to do so. They might exhibit a tendency of not showing regard to other people's thoughts and emotions (Bupa, 2007). Some a4re passive and they accept overture from other people but they cannot initiate their own to other people (education.alberta, 2003. and there are those that do make social approaches but display unusual behaviors in the socialization context.
They seem to be in a world of their own. They are in most cases aloof to what is happening around them. Activities and other people around the patients seem unimportant as they appear to think about themselves. They may have difficulty in responding to their own names showing the image of not knowing who their selves are. They may also resist affection for example by being kisses or cuddled. (Bupa, 2007). It's difficult for them to understand other people's perspectives that are different from their own.
Most children with an autism disorder do not learn words even by the age of two years. Communication is delayed and both verbal and non verbal communication is no fully developed in line with their normal counterparts. They can hardly utter words by the time they are supposed to be doing that. Language difficulty is experienced in the patients. They exhibit inappropriate facial expressions, lack of eye contact and lack share mutual focus (education.alberta, 2003). In addition they will speak slower and in strange monotones compared to the normal peers. (education.alberta, 2003)
The child, Don who has been diagnosed Aspergers's disorder exhibits some differences that are contrary to what a typical autism patient would display. He at least tries to follow routine as other students do. He can to some extent do tasks according to schedules have been employed the help him d that. Maybe due to a forgetting problem or the possibility of forgetting what he is doing due to the video game, the schedules act as the reminder that he needs to do what is supposed to be done at a particular time. Don is also open and not isolated as one would expect an autism patient to behave under normal circumstances. He is not aloof to the rest of the people and activities around him.
The child is participative in the activities that other children are doing. He attends all the classes like the music and math. Though he forgets and the schedules don't help him that much, the fact that other students have theirs makes him feel the odd one out. He thus runs back for his so he can fit in the setting. He feels part of the group and has been given the responsibility to shut the lights to foster his level of participation and ensure he gets the normal feeling of being part of a group to avoid aloofness. The colorings of the folders and the book have also helped Don in remembering the materials he needs for that particular class/activity.
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The child is not fixated in just one activity and this strikes him out for not having the tendency to be repetitive for one activity. The breaks he gets from his teachers like the note to the secretary have provided for some time to relax and shift his focus from activity to another. During which time he talks about his favorite movies. He could have gone on and on but the incursion from the secretary that they would not discuss jolts what he is supposed to do next. The break he gets from the secretary's office to the math classroom helps him to cool down. Here again the schedules and lists that detail what he is supposed to do come to play as they help him remember what he s supposed to do and what not to.
Don only gets upset when things do not go his way as evidenced when he does not find his pencil. Writing as opposed to talking helps here. The notes that are scribbled by the aide help in calming him down and they communicate the intended message clearly and politely. It helps him regain his self and be able to concentrate on the task at hand. The aid makes use of the instructions again in ensuring that Don does his work in class. He is different since he can concentrate at the assigned task and does not show any signs of going contrary to the majority. He able to focus due to the breaks and the relaxation training that he is given.
Communication is the art of passing messages from one place to another or between people. It may be verbal or non verbal. Language and the use of signs is common respectively. For those who cannot express themselves verbally with a language that is widely known then sign language comes in handy. Its especially made for the deaf and sometimes the dumb whose verbal abilities are severely impaired hence they cannot talk. For communication to take place there are prerequisites that need to be adhered to. They more or less give the guideline to what needs to be done for messages to be effectively carried out from one medium to another. Avoiding ambiguity, deciding the intention for the communication and, provision of the necessary support for the recipients to receive effectively the message you intend to pass across. No matter what skill is mastered and used in communication, there is consensus that all are the very important and necessary in the passage of information and messages to the recipients-autistic or not. The first and second skills are more or less likely to require serious analysis but the third is very analysis dependent.
For effective communication to take place one who is the communicator must avoid ambiguity. Messages must be carried across and delivered in a manner that is clear and not confusing. Points meant to be communicated must be laid bare in a manner that is simple and that avoids the conflicting them. Pragmatism is emphasized as opposed to words and phrases that are too philosophical or with hidden meaning. Words used should always reflect the situation at hand e.g. is it a church function or school assembly meeting. Hence when one says for instance "hello colleagues" it must mean work or business but not his /her students. Ambiguity for once will not be helpful for any person who is being communicated to. For a normal individual who is highly functioning it will be difficult. For lowly functioning individual with autism it will be disastrous that because it will compound the understanding process and resulting misinterpretation of the information. While ambiguity can be tolerated to some extent y a high functioning individual despite being autistic it cannot be the same for the lowly function autistic individual. Therefore minimal or lack of it is paramount to the communication of the people especially the children with the disorder.
Before one decides to communicate motive should be determined. The motive will hence set the tone and the format in which the message will be delivered. The intentions for communication vary across the board from age to mode of presentation. The end result or the effect that the message intends to achieve is the most important part that the communication skill must address. This should be done to avoid receiving completely off the cuff results different from the intended ones. This also calls for the panning of the message and the way it will be delivered, before hand to avoid among others miscommunication and embarrassments. As with the skill to minimize ambiguity, the motive for communication is very necessary especially in communicating with the mentally impaired due to autistic disorders. The messages are intended to induce actions by the sick people that will enable them cope with the problems caused by the disorders. For anon verbal highly functioning individual the motive for communication should not be overly done as it may appear complicated and might result to ambiguity. But for both the highly and lowly functioning and the verbal and non verbal the motive should be geared towards helping them simplify actions around them.
The recipients are supposed to receive the message, digest it and do what is intended to do. They must be supported by the communicator to understand the message. The communicator must avail equipment if necessary. He may do this directly or indirectly. Learning of a particular language and the is an indirect way of helping recipients while offering services such as translations is a direct way of helping recipients to understand what is contained in messages. Normally the audience to receive the communication is carefully analyzed. The people with the kind of autistic disorders described above need all the support that there is to understand whatever is being communicated. Support that may include the inclusion of the pictorial components of the communication especially for small children. Both highly and lowly functioning of individuals be it verbal and not have special need s that needs support. Careful analysis is needed top determine the kind of support they need less than the way it's needed to avoid ambiguity and to determine motive. Social workers are needed to aid in administering any help that may be required in the
A picture exchange system that ma be put in place may go along way in ensuring that messages are more effectively communicated with visual aids that with words that may at times offer no meaning completely hence presenting ambiguous communication and stress for the student.
Autism students like Steven need visuals especially as they cannot effectively express themselves like other normal students in a school setting. They need different visuals like vide and pictures. /social communication is difficult in their predicament and hence the need to use the aids that they can see and relate to. People with autism tend to be visual learners and the fact that they may not be interacting full with their care givers warrants the need for the use of the visual aids. objects, photographs and symbols are all appropriate ways in which one can carry out visual communication with an autistic student.(nas.org,2009).another way to engage them is by the way of labeling names of things and places. Labeling common objects like cars, chairs and tables and other objects that may be common around the student setting will enhance the communication hence ensuring the learning of people with autism. Learning to request by exchanging a symbol with a desired object too helps in the visual aiding of learning with autistic students like Steve. The above describes aids have to be employed at various stages the make sure Steve interacts fully with the environment around him and the people who he needs to communicate to. The whole days schedule will need to be visualized for the easy comprehend of the student. verbal seems not to work and a pictorial program that is arranged in order of the sequence that the day's evens are to happen simplifies matters as the student only need to repeat what he/she sees on the schedule.
Steve needs to visuals at the moment when he alights the bus. Because there are different place that may be going or wanting to go, it's better a picture of the classroom id shown to him so that he knows that that is the destination. Video will be appropriate if one needs to describe the way to the classroom and the a picture of the new teacher with words such as "new teacher" scribbled on it will do better in communication the message that a new teacher is going to be in charge on that day. The notice board can be labeled for the information that needs to be passed across to students like Steve.
The visual aids will also be very necessary in the class room. In class the pictorial presentations of what needs to be done like hanging of bags ad jackets need to be shown to the student will better understand what he need to do because words are likely to be interpreted in a very different way. The pictures will offer him a chance to imitate what he sees hence learn through it. To know what a student like Steve wants is difficult especially as its compounded by the fa ct that he cannot clearly express himself through speech. Here the labeled presentations like the pictures of bathroom with a question mark will be easier for him to digest and hence make the work easier for the aide. He student will only need to answer to the affirmative or to the contrary.
In the bathroom where its almost impossible to visit in the course of the day is another place where the use of the visual communication aids will come in handy., because of the nature of tasks involved and the privacy that is required in such environments, it will reduce the work of whoever is in charge to show pictures of what is supposed to be done. However those will be in the short run. In the long run video clips will have to be used to reinforce the message on his head on what need to be done at such settings. This is because the washroom functions will change slightly from time to time, other wise they are always the same.
In the playground where they play during circle time picture are even more appropriate since describing the events in the field may be beyond the comprehension of most children with autism. It's even compounded by the fact that their partial mental incapacitation cannot allow them to voluntarily participate in group activities and so they tend to be recluses. Pictures encouraging all the children playing in a group will enhance the notion that they he/ she needs to in a group at a time like circle time. Again video watching will be advantageous in the long run for the development of the child's min. the clips showing children playing together will be edged up in his/her mind and during such time it will be short of reflexive reactions to playing in the field.
Mealtimes can be challenging for Steve because of the group nature of the tasks involved and the fact that he might not know how to use the facilities, choose the types of food and worse still does not know how to express him about any opinion or suggestion/question. Therefore pictures that show what one need to be in the dinning hall and what he needs to pick i.e. in terms of utensils and how he is supposed to behave i.e. lining and receiving meals to the point of settling down are necessary. They will aid the child in complementing what he will be told verbally hence make it easier for him to interact with the rest of the students and feel part of the system. Colored posters of the meals that are clearly labeled will be necessary to aid the choosing of meals in the dinning room.
1spergers's syndrome retrieved on 11 September 2009 from
2utistic spectrum disorders (ASDs)2007, retrieved on 11 September 2009 from
3SPERGER'S DISORDER HOMEPAGE, retrieved on 11 September 2009 from
4icture symbols: for professionals and students, retrieved on 11 September 2009 from