Children With Autism: Development Aspects

Abstract

This paper will focus on autism which is defined as a developmental disability which is believed to occur in early three years of a child’s life. This disability comes up as a result of a neurological disorder that actually disturbs the normal functioning of the brain which thereafter impairs the development of an individual’s communications and interaction abilities. Usually this disorder comes with different impairments on different children. Neurological disorders like autism in some other instances can be very severe, and during such chronic stages it is usually debilitating thus resulting to inability of the child affected to perform the usual routine practices for example household matters effectively and efficiently. (Francesca, 1994)

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The symptoms of this disorder may be poor concentration, being temperamental and sleep disorders. Such worries and anxiety causes major stress and may cause bad image in the societal aspect as well as in the work-related environment contexts and other significant parts of operation in an individual’s daily life. We can also deduce that such turbulences caused by psychological disorders including autism are not related however to other psychological causes such as drug abuse or medical conditions that might be related to this kind of anxiety (Graff, Green and Libby, 1998).

Introduction

Research indicates that autism is stated to be among the five neurological disorders referred to as Pervasive Developmental Disorders that is said to be carrying a severe and pervasive impairment in a number of development parts of an individual. Autism disorder mostly affects young children and most cases have been reported to be chronic or severe between the ages of one to three years. According to the Center for Disease Control Prevention carried out in the 2007, it was found that an estimation of two in three hundred births many children are believed to be affected by autism and the cases are still reported to be rising. As a neurological disorder it symbolizes an array of psychiatrist states whereby emotional suffering is manifested in the form of bodily, mental and psychological troubles and in many instances physical indications are seen. Uta, F. (1989).

However, it should be noted that the ultimate indication is that of manifestation of this disorder which may develop to be severe to the child in the long-term. Many medical scientists have come to an agreement that children suffering from such disorders usually have poor capability to adjust to new environment, incapability to alter his/her life patterns and more specifically the lack of ability to build up a comfortable, more pleasing and a more comprehensive personality that he/she desires to live in. Indeed autism disorder impairs the child’s communication system which may affect him/her negatively in the future in the ordinary course of life. (Philip and Leslie, 2004) Medical scientists’ under this research report that the most common disorder as a result of autism is that of speech referred to as aphonia whereby an individual cannot communicate loudly but only can whisper while speaking. The other common disorder associated with autism is that of mutism whereby it also lies under the category of speech disorder and in many cases it is difficult to be diagnosed and at the same time it is not common as compared to that of aphonia which is widespread in most children (Stephen, 2003).

Autistic children are not even able to play interactively with other children since they tend to get irritated by other children’ noise and playing activities since they don’t have the same capabilities and interests. As a matter of fact, normal sounds from other children or surroundings tend to be too much noise that irritates autistic children to a point of covering their ears and as a result they tend to keep to themselves. Some of autistic children prefer interacting with animals like dogs since they are not able to communicate to other children. Autism causes children to see the world differently. While normal children like being cuddled and hugged, autistic children see this as a bother and can only become affectionate to other people while resisting others. Autistic children can’t make connections that other children make. They have trouble linking words to their meaning to an extent that if someone tried to point to something for them to see they look at the hand that is pointing as opposed to what the hand is pointing to. This makes it difficult for them to understand what they are being told and as a result get frustrated that they can neither understand nor express themselves effectively. They tend to react differently to different things.

A person’s brain help h/she interpret sights, sounds, smells and other sensation and gives the correct response to the same, however it is not so for children who suffer from autism. These children seem to have some abnormal reaction to things. For example they tend to run away from people who are smiling or greeting them. They like to play with the same old toy, or do things in the same sequence all the time. They hate change of environments and people, they hate tight things on them, especially elastic socks, and they get annoyed if someone interrupts them while they are busy with their activities. Many children with autism tend to engage in repetitive movements such as rocking and twirling. They are easily irritated and refer to themselves as I or me and thus are not able to respond to their names all the times.

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Some engage in self abusive behavior like head-banging or biting and if this can lead to more body damage if not restricted. (Stephen, 2003) Autism which as mentioned earlier is a brain disorder that varies from child to child causing mild or severe effects on its victim These conditions seem to attract other related diseases making the situation even worse. Some of the related diseases include fragile X syndrome causing mental retardation, tuberous sclerosis causing growth of tumors in the brain, epileptic seizures especially during adulthood, tourette syndrome, learning disabilities and attention deficit disorder. Most of these children also are schizophrenic and are affected by hallucinations and delusions which are really not signs of autism. Though the cause of autism is not known, there is a strong genetic connection. The possibility of getting an autistic child after already having one is 1 out of five which is greater than general rate of getting autistic children. Other proposed causes of the disorder are childhood vaccines, though this is still controversial and causes convincing scientific evidence. Since 1980, the number of people with autism has increased and this is partly due to changed in diagnostic practice (Olga, 2003).

How can parent detect autism symptoms?

Parents are normally to notice abnormal behavior in children especially when they reach a certain age of development and no much change is taking place. For example when a child reaches 24 months and they mumble something or even talk it raises reasonable concerns among parents who then seek medical advice. However since children with autism can develop normally only to change later, it becomes hard for parents to detect signs of autism. Again autism signs are not easily differentiated from others mental disorder diseases and this can be confusing to parents. It is therefore important that parents learn how to detect some of the signs that could be interpreted as autistic for the earlier they are detected the better for the both the children and parents since some helpful intervention can be administered (Philip and Leslie, 2004).

Children with autism are detected as early as 2 years and fully confirmed when they get to 3 years of age. Some of the signs that parent can look out for include, considerable social interactions impairment and this is characterized by inability to react to especially non verbal behaviors such avoidance of eye-eye gaze, facial expression failure and gestures to regulate social interactions. They also have noticeable abnormality in body posture e.g. bending neck and self abusing behavior like head banging. The affected children also fail to develop peer relationships since they cannot interpret gestures and or regulate social interactions. At the same time these children lack interest in share joy with other children and instead prefer solitary activities and when they involve others in their play activities they only involve them as tools to help them achieve their goals but not to participate. Parents can also detect autism if the child delays in, or has a total lack of verbal communication. By at least 24 months the child should at least mumble something and if this does not happen then the child needs to be checked by a professional especially when he cannot even accurately match his gestures with what he is saying (Philip and Leslie, 2004).

Communication problem can also be noticed when a child is used to repeating the same words even when meaning something different from what he meant last time when he said the same words. He can also have repeated behavior patterns, interests and activities, so that you find autistic child is also resistance to change either of environment, people or playing tools. They take normal things like rituals and they don’t like change including change of their own cloths they want the same short or same socks or sweater. Apart from they not like change in their surrounding, they also have repetitive motor mannerisms finger flapping or twisting or whole complex body movements which can sometimes be self abusive if it is not supervised.

The above are the common symptoms of autism which can be grouped into three main group including impaired social interactions, communication problems and symbolic or self created play activities and make them keep to themselves. Other ways that a parent can detect autism characteristics in their child is bad eating habits mostly eating only “white food” pasta, chicken breast, bread etc, lack of sleep or light sleep that is disturbed by not so much noise, preference of the same cloths, occasional bet wetting, reluctance to go to school and taking long to do something; they can take long to put on a sweater since they are easily distracted by something else (Philip and Leslie, 2004).

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Other factors that can cause a parent to notice there is something wrong are external where for example a child is sent home from school for lack of paying attention to class or being hyper active, or the parent might not that the his child always have pending home work because he is not able to do it at the same rate as his classmates. Another way of diagnosing children’s problems is through direct observation where the parents or the doctor spend sometime with the child. Interactions and interviews especially with the parent can be very helpful sources of info since the parents is naturally obligated to monitor h/her child’s behavior more keenly than anybody else and is with the child most of the times.

How can parents get help?

It is very important to note here that although only speculative causes of autism are known, bad parenting is definitely not a cause or a contribution to what causes autism. It s a brain disorder just like any other physical disorder and a parent especially the mother should not be blamed for it. Researchers say that autism could be as a result of disruption of normal brain growth that regulates how neurons communicate to each other. Also the impression that early childhood vaccines caused autism are not true as a matter of fact a special federal court ruled that there is not proven link between autism and the vaccines (Philip and Leslie, 2004).

The parent should not feel guilty of either mal practice during pregnancy though this is not a green light to engage in health hazards practices including alcoholism and smoking during pregnancy or feel guilty of allowing h/her child to be vaccinated. However, it is important to note here inheritance play a big role in the cause of autism. Recent studies suggest that some people have inherited autism from their families. The rate of having a second child with autism after having one is 5 percent which is greater than the risk of generally population. More often than not parents and relatives of autistic children show autistic signs though mild. The first place a parent should look for help if there is suspicion of autism is to see an experienced physician who will do the diagnosis and establish if it is true that a child has a problem, whether it can be intervened or give advice on how to manage the condition. With age and treatment many children improve. Some children have reported to grow and lead normal or near normal lives while others have reported to be affected all through their lives. Since as already mentioned there is no cure for autism, doctors will prescribe antidepressant when need be to handle hyper-activeness such as anxiety, depression, or obsessive- compulsive disorder.

When the situations worsen and become unmanageable, anti-psychotic medications are used. Stimulant drugs are also administered to control attention deficit disorder this also reduces hyperactivity and or impulsivity. There are also other therapies that can be used as interventions but caution should be given since those therapies are not supported scientifically and the fact that a certain therapy worked one child does not mean will work on another. Therefore parents and teachers should be cautions and also engage their children in prescribed therapies and treatments by professionals (Schmitz, and Rezaie, 2007).

Apart from medication and speech therapy, there are other forms of therapy including occupational therapy which including improving of motor skills through sensory integration activities such as firm touch for children who sensitive to affectionate touches including hugs and cuddling. There is also physical therapy that deals with developing strength, coordination of movements etc. Parents are encouraged to get treatment for their child especially at an early age especially for speech as this helps the children develop their children communicative and social skills. In case speech therapy does not work, the parents are then encouraged to engage their children with other forms of communication such as sign language and facilitated communication. Parents also can get help from educational facilities provided by both the government and non-government organizations and especially familiarize themselves with Americans With Disabilities Act which is a arm through which the government reaches people with disabilities (Philip and Leslie, 2004).

Besides the government there are non-profit organizations that deal specifically with autism and this might of great help to parents. Examples of both state found and non profit organizations include Autism Society of America, Autism Research Institute, National Dissemination Center for people with disability, National Institute on Deafness and other Communication among many others. among other things that a parent should when a child start showing signs of autism is to note them down on paper, note also the surrounding and time this will help parents, teachers and any other caregiver come up with effective strategies. Before discussing the access and importance of education system for autistic children it might be important to say here that dogs have also been shown to be very helpful to children with autism. Since as already mentioned in this paper that autistic children have problems with social interactions, they tend to be form friendship with dogs since there is no so much pressure from a dog to do or say something but as already noted the children can use a dog as a tool. However it is also important to note here that these are not just dogs but dogs that are trained specifically for the job (Thomas and Sharon, 2003).

There is need for matching the temperaments of the child and that of the dog so that the dog does not end up hurting the baby. “A well-trained service dog would be just wonderful,” said Dr James Loomis, a child and family psychologist. The dog is said to provide company to autistic children since they tend to relate better to dogs than people. The dog also provides protection and security measures since it is always with the child. It can help guide the child while going for classes or home after school. “Dogs are like half steps, because for kids with autism, words get in the way of their relationships,” said Danny’s mother, Danny is 8 years old and is connected to a two year old puppy. However, how much autistic children benefit from owning a dog depends on the child and therefore it is not a guarantee that a child will automatically benefit from a dog not unless on security issues. Parents should first observe and learn whether their autistic children are naturally drawn to dogs because only then will they be able to benefit.

Can autistic children attend mainstream classes?

Though it is difficult to teach children with autism it is very possible and in mainstream classes. All that first needs to be done is to go through a screening to ascertain that it is true that a child needs special early childhood education. After that the school district is required to provide those services. The school system is a great resource for helping a child with autism. There is adequate professional resource for this kind of student and therefore no child should be denied education. These educators are trained to provide the children with the right education for them especially since they have great talent in mathematics, art and music. Public schools offer this kind of training through incorporating programs specifically made for these children (Stephen, 2003).

The government through Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is responsible for providing the professional resources required. Parents should realize the importance of looking for their children schools early enough. This helps in that it provides them time to choose the most suitable school for their children and also allows for early preparing of the child. Early Intervention services for infants are provided through (IDEA). Once the school has already been identified and the child is already in class it is important to make visits to school before class starts this will help him familiarize with the environment as noted earlier in this paper autistic children do not like changes in their lives and starting school means introduction not only to a new environment but also to new people. The visit might need to be as many until the parent notices that their children are slowly getting familiar with the school and its environs.

Teaching children with autism is slightly different from other children but nevertheless this can be managed especially if the teacher is well aware of the child’s presence in class and is well trained for the job.

The class needs to be well structured with the autistic child being explained to what is happening. Communication should be clear and the language should be kept simple. This practice is also good for normal child only that they now get to understand much faster. “The main priority is to work on the children’s social and communication skills and try to make sure they have the skills to access the National Curriculum wherever possible” said a teacher in charge of Cage Green Center for Autism. Once the child has started school it is important for the parent for there to be a relationship between the teacher and the parent as this will ensure that they are working using the same technique and are working towards the same goal (Schmitz, and Rezaie, 2007).

Conclusion

This paper has defined autism as a brain disorder that makes the child have among other signs, impaired ability to make friends with peers, have communication problems especially with their peers (Thomas and Sharon, 2003).

The children also have a repetitive behavior or unusual of language. It is important to note that children with autism take long before they can learn how to talk and even when they do, they do not do it effectively. These children also have do not like change since they are accustomed to doing things in a certain ways for example arranging toys in a way, liking the same cloths and doing the same things over and over again. The paper has also shown how the parent can detect whether their children have autism Some of the signs that parent can look out for include, considerable social interactions impairment and this is characterized by inability to react to especially non verbal behaviors such avoidance of eye-eye gaze, facial expression failure and gestures to regulate social interactions. They also have noticeable abnormality in body posture e.g. bending neck and self abusing behavior like head banging.

The affected children also fail to develop peer relationships since they cannot interpret gestures and or regulate social interactions. At the same time these children lack interest in share joy with other children and instead prefer solitary activities and when they involve others in their play activities they only involve them as tools to help them achieve their goals but not to participate. Parents can also detect autism if the child delays in, or has a total lack of verbal communication. The paper has also shown that yes it is possible for the autistic children to access mainstream and special classes through (IDEA) and Non-Governmental Organization, but it is also the responsibility of the parent to ensure that h/she knows h/her right especially on the provision of resources by the government and non-governmental organization. The paper has also shown the importance of teacher/ parent relationship be it in a mainstream or a special school, because this is the only way that the much needed consistent education and care will be given to the child (Schmitz, and Rezaie, 2007).

According to this research conducted the following are the stated findings from the study; Many people argue that there is no specific treatment for autism; in this we find that there are many ways that can enable the treatment of this disorder this usually include the use of biochemicals which include the use of medicines, food, supplements such as those of vitamins and also the realization of food allergies. There is also the use of Nuerosensory way of treating autism which involves the integration of the sensory nerves, over stimulation and auditory training of the nerves. This may also include the application of the daily life therapy. The other method of treatment include psychotherapy and psychoanalysis within which if done with a higher concentration it proves to bring up better results on the treatment of autism; the reason for this is that according to the findings of this research conducted we find that there are rare cases of recovery after the use of such treatment methods. An example of such methods is the play therapy which includes playing with the child while inducing the child to talk. The reason for this is that play is always regarded as the only way through which children communicate. It found that this method is commonly used in the handling children affected with autism and those with emotional problems (Bryna, 1996).

The other method is psycho-dynamic which mainly utilizes counseling which plays a key role in treatment of psychological disorders and other disorders such as autism. Children with such disorders should be subjected to these programs in order to aid them recover slowly from such attacks that may affect their lives. Counseling programs designed should be well formulated to address all the problems that children with such disorders are facing in the society in order to avoid the repeat of the attacks. These counseling services should be made easier in terms of getting access to it for example building counseling centers in all parts of the county. The relevant authorities should also chip in and offer the counseling services for free or at affordable rates to the members of the society. The other best treatment approaches for autism are that of behavioral therapy, chemotherapy, psychoanalytic therapy and shock therapy. All health problems that concur with autism are therefore said to have developed a number of needs that the members of the families of the person affected by autism are recommended to undertake in order to ensure that the sick people are taken care of so that they can feel appreciated in the whole community.

Therefore children diagnosed with autism as from the age of three years to the age of twenty one should be provided with free education which should be provided by the local education agencies in many institutions. under this we find that the students should be provided with the education basing on their needs as per the individuals’ autism spectrum and this should be usually provided by the professionals who carry better management skills on the autism disorder who are purposed to provide the children with the bets educational programs that will thereafter enhance better performance in their academics, communication and behavioral factors in their social interactions (Bryna, 1996).

Parents who are found with children affected by the autism disorder should also be given a major role to play in the treatment of this disorder in their children. In this case we find that the parents should be therefore asked to decide on the better educational programs that their children should be provided with, that is they should therefore provide more information about their children conditions to the available teachers or even professionals who deal with autism thus they are encouraged to have an open communication system that will make easy the evaluation of the child’s development in his or her treatment. We can therefore conclude that the statement of hypothesis that was developed before conducting the research i.e. there is significant evidence that the adverse effects common in the world regarding autism is caused by lack of adequate knowledge by the affected persons on the best ways of treatment of autism is true or holds (Bryna, 1996).

From this research we cannot conclude that we have discussed all the methods of managing and treating autism and therefore future research should embark on identifying many ways and those that are more suitable to treating autism. Since autism symptoms are related to other signs of psychological disorders it will be prudent to carry out the research in the future dealing specifically with the key and most unique symptoms of autism in order to avoid confusion thus enable effective treatment of the disorder. Also this study can also be replicated in the future to test the validity and results obtained from the findings that were arrived at by the researcher.

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