Autism And Autism Spectrum Disorders

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In 1908 the word “autism” was created by psychiatrist Eugene Bleuler and was used to describe a group of schizophrenic patients who had withdrawn completely into their own world. While the word “autism” has had many different meanings throughout the years all forms of autism now fall under the designation of Autism Spectrum Disorders. For me, the word “autism” is an explanation for the difficulty I have had communicating with people, my family included, since I was four years old. I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome on November 2, 2015 less than a month away from my twenty-first birthday I was excited and my parents were glad as well, but when I told a friend she looked worried and said “Why? That’s not a good thing.” While my friend is not the baseline for the general population’s reaction to autism, I feel that it would be beneficial if everyone were able to understand people with autism and Autism Spectrum Disorders instead of fearing them as some world-ending disaster.
While Eugene Bleuler was the first to use the word “autism” to describe patients that exhibited some characteristics of the criteria people use today to define Autism Spectrum Disorder the term was more properly used by Dr. Leo Kanner in 1943 when he wrote a report on a group of children who presented with a lack of interest in people, high intelligence, and good memory. However the children also showed sensitivity to sound and other stimuli, had difficulty adjusting to routine changes and spontaneous activities and exhibited echolalia, or the tendency to repeat words meaninglessly. Kanner published a paper on the children and defined their behavior as early infantile autism (Mandal). A year later in Germany Hans Asperger published his report on similar b...

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...ically typical people. For example, the tendency to fixate on a certain subject can allow a person to accomplish a lot while a stronger tendency to fixate prevents normal social interaction (Grandin 177). Another example of genetics playing a large part in the inheritance of autism is found in identical twins as research shows that when one twin is autistic there is an 80-90% chance the other twin will also be diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder with fraternal twins there is only a 3-10% chance because fraternal twins have different genes while identical twins share the same genetic makeup. (Halladay). However, Dr. Grandin proposes that if the genes that cause autism and other disorders were able to be removed from the gene pool then the world would be left with boring conformists that lack creativity because genius itself may be an abnormality (Grandin 178).

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