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Autism: False Words And False Hope

Powerful Essays
Autism: False Words and False Hope

Autism is a childhood disease where the child is in a private world of

their own. A description of an autistic child by her mother is:

We start with an image---a tiny, golden child on hands and knees,

circling round and round a spot on the floor in mysterious self-

absorbed delight. She does not look up, though she is smiling and

laughing; she does not call our attention to the mysterious

object of her pleasure. She does not see us at all. She and the spot

are all there is, and though she is eighteen months old, an age

for touching, tasting, pointing, pushing, exploring, she is doing

none of these. (Groden 2)

This is the most important trait in an autistic child: They don't interact or

socialize with other people. Other characteristics in autistic children are

language retardation and ritualistic or compulsive behaviors. It used to be

thought that children became autistic because of "poor parenting" and that the

only solution was that the parents should be removed from the child (Baron-Cohen

26). Now it is known that autism is caused by biological factors due to:

neurological symptoms, mental handicap, genetic causes, infections, and even

difficulties in pregnancy.

Even though autism is thought of as a disease or disorder, autistic

children can demonstrate special skills. These skills are referred to as

"isolated islets of intelligence" (Baron-Cohen 53). Some examples of these are

found in an autistic child's ability to draw, play music, or recall a certain

date. Nadia, an autistic child, has the ability to draw in an "almost

photographic way" (Baron-Cohen 54). Autistic children can also play instruments,

accurately sing songs, recognize structures of music, etc. A problem that

arises when autistic children are going through therapy is that they start to

lose their remarkable skills.

For parents to find out that their child is autistic can be very shocking.

They go from having a bouncy, livey baby to a having a total stranger as their

child. Many therapies have been devised to help autistic children. Some of

these therapies are: behavior therapy, speech and language therapy, holding

therapy, music therapy, and the newest one, facilitation therapy. Since most

autistic children are different and th...

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...bsp; Another treatment for autism is an effective medication called

clomipramine. It was reported in the Archives of General Psychiatry that it

"reduced a range of symptoms in three-quarters of autistic children tested"

(Goleman C11). The improvements in the children were that they were able to

make eye contact and begin interactions. Also compulsive behaviors were reduced.

In facilitation therapy many of the compulsive behaviors are still observed,

plus when the child is given medication there is no doubt that it is the

autistic child doing the communicating.

For some autistic children facilitation therapy may be the key to

reaching out. For the majority of autistic people, to close the gap between the

real world and the world they live in, takes intensive therapy. It takes more

then a hand supporting a wrist or an arm to communicate. Facilitation therapy is

proving to be too controversial to really know if it's the autistic person's own

thoughts. Yes, there is a hidden person inside that mute creature. Hopefully

with love and support from family and other outside contacts, that unique

individual will emerge.
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