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The Signs and Effects of Autism

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The Signs and Effects of Autism

Autism is a rare disease that has been noticed for centuries. The purest form of autism (high IQ and almost normal behavior yet still self-contained) occurs in about “one in 2,000 people”. When the many other forms of autism are added in, the ratio is “one in 750”. Autism is found in every race, ethnic group, nation, and social standing, although “males outnumber females by four or five times” (“Autistic Disorder” – 2).

Autism is a broad range of disorders that stretch from mild to severe. There are many theories on the cause of autism, but no definite solution. Because of the broadness of the disease, there are many types and categories. The effects of autism are frustrating, and hard to live with. Since the causes remain unknown, there are no specific treatments that can cure autism.

The first signs of autism are shown within the first three years of life. As an infant, parents will notice that the child is distant and does not respond to many things. The baby usually doesn’t develop any bonds with his/her mother or caretaker. When parents go to pick up an autistic child, he/she will seem rigid, limp, and will not do normal things like reach out for the parent. Another symptom is little to no eye contact. As with autism at any age, the child is obsessed with sameness and routines. For example, a child will want to eat the same foods every day at the same time. Inanimate objects also fascinate autistic children, though they do not use them as they are intended. They will play with a single toy for hours at a time. Autism was once thought to be the result of cold and distant parents. If the mother disliked or did not want the baby, it was thought that the baby knew this and would enclose itself in its own world. That theory has now been disproven and many scientists now believe autism is caused by

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genetics and/or illnesses. There are many stated genetic and biological causes but none seem unique to autism. Likewise, no specific gene has been targeted to cause autism. New evidence reveals that “the serotonin-transpoter gene” (Rapin, Isabelle – 101) may be related to the cause of this disease. Complications in birth are also taken into consideration. “Prenatal factors are intrauterine rubella, tuberous selerosis, chromosomal abnormalities, and brain abnormalities. Perinatal factors have little to no ...

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...“Autistic Disorder” – 4). Another way of helping an autistic individual have a somewhat successful adult life is to develop his/her communication skills by age five. With the knowledge of communication he/she will likely improve. Yet, most will still need some sort of help from one or more adults.

In conclusion, the broad range of disorders, known as autism, can’t be cured, but they can be helped in many ways. Many autistic people receive help from family and

relatives. In an autistic person’s life, all he/she needs is love and understanding.

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Although they may seem mentally challenged, many are very bright. Many have a higher IQ then what is usual. Autism can be a devastating disorder but to the affected individual, it is his/her normal world.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

“Autistic Disorder” McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology. CD-ROM. 1998 ed.

Campbell, Robert. The Enigma of the Mind. New York: Time-Life Books. 1976

Rapin, Isabelle. “Autism.” The New England Journal of Medicine 10 July 1997: 97

Wing, John. Reasoning About Madness. New York: Oxford University Press. 1987.

Wing, Lorna. “The Autistic Spectrum.” The Lancet 13 July 1997: 1761-66.
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