Autism's Effects on Development and Education

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Autism's Effects on Development and Education

Autism is a behavioral syndrome present from early life and defined by deficient social interaction, language and communication, and play. At one time thought by some to be psychodynamically determined, it is now clear that autism represents physiologic dysfunction of one or more undefined brain systems. In addition to characteristic autistic features, many autistic people display a variety of other signs such as attention deficits, mental deficiency, and seizures that are not specific to autism and that denote dysfunction in other brain systems (Bristol 1991). Variations in symptomatology and prognosis among autistic people depend on both the severity and the extent of the underlying brain dysfunction. There is little information about the pathology of autism, owing to the small number of brains examined.

Failure to acquire language at the expected age is the most frequent presenting complaint for preschool autistic children. In fact, all preschool autistic children have some type of development language disorder (dysphasia) (Mesibov and Shea 1996). In contrast to non-autistic dysphasic children, some of whom have predominantly or purely expressive disorders, virtually all pre-school autistic dysphasic children have impaired comprehension of language. Some autistic children are mute and seem to understand very little of what is said to them. They are word-deaf (verbal auditory agnosia), the most severe type of receptive dysphasia (Mesibov and Shea 1996). Others acquire language late and speak unintelligibly in short sentences with incorrect structure. Comprehension may be superior to expression in the majority of autistic children, which is an abnormality when comp...

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...e proven to be the best method in helping an autistic child to learn how to function in a society and interact appropriately with their environment and social surroundings.


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