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Autism may be defined as a disorder which destroys the brain. This disorder is characterized by a person having communication difficulties, social impairments as well as repetitive, restricted and streotyped patterns of behavior. Autism is often referred to as ‘Autistic disorder’ which varies in how it affects the victim. The severe form of Autism is referred to as classical ASD, while the milder form of this disorder is referred to as ‘Asperger syndrome’. It is important to note that although autism varies significantly in character and severity, this disorder occurs in all the ethnic and socioeconomic groups across the world. The disorder affects all the age groups thus it has affected many people. Experts, who have studied this disorder and its prevalence in the United States have pointed out that six children out of every 1,000 may be suffering from autism. The difficulty associated with treatment of autism makes prevention better than cure.
Autism being a developmental disorder begins at an early age of one’s life and this means that the disorder is better handled through prevention than cure. Treatment often is trickier for the disease because often the disease may go unrecognized for quite some time, this is alongside the fact that its severity varies from one patient to another. It often goes unrecognized in the mild cases that affect children or when the disorder is masked by other debilitating disabilities. This implies that an expert doctor should check the early signs of the disorder. The very early indicators that may occur to persons suffering from autism may include but are not limited to the following (Happé, 1995).
It may include no smiling or social responsiveness in a child. Often when a child is born, there is some amount of response that is reflected in the child when the child is in pain or when a child goes through a happy moment. Lack of responsiveness of the child may be a sign of autism. The second indicators may involve the case where a child is not able to babble or point by the age of one year. Often, children by age one would have begun babbling. In addition, when a child is not able to speak a single word or words by their 16th month or being able to say a two-word phrase by the age of two may also indicate that the child may be faced with autism. Other cases may include cases where there is a loss of language or social skills among children. The other case that may show that a child may suffer from autism is poor eye contacts. Other experts have also said that excessive lining up of toys by a child may also be an indicator of autism.
The other further indicators of autism that will come out later in one’s life include a child’s impaired ability to make friends with peers. This may be seen when a child cannot socialize with the other children at the age where the children are much socializing with each other. It would be clear that this is an indication that not everything is well among them. Normal children are very sociable; they interact with others as well as they speak to each other. When a child is not able to socialize with other children it may just expose the iceberg to autism disorder.
In addition to the said above, a situation where one’s ability to initiate or sustain a conversation with others is impaired may also be a vivid indicator of ‘autism’ existence. This may be expressed when speaking to a child and the child responds but is not able to express his or her statement accurately to another person. It may also be seen during the period when a child is playing, childhood conversations are often open and when a child shuns away from communicating with his or her peers during playtime may be a clear indicator of autism. Many parents have mistaken cases of autism and personality traits and this is why the intervention of a medical expert is important.
Absence of imaginative and social play may also be an additional factor that cannot go unnoticed. This is because children naturally engage in an imaginative play such as creating objects, drawing pictures, pulling objects, arranging and rearranging objects. They also engage in imaginative play through the mind where they call each other names, wish each other fortunes, at times are involved in conflicts and they also engage in other social play depending on the environment they grow up within. When this type of imaginative play lacks within a child, then something is wrong and often ‘autism’ traits may have began in such a child (Klinger, 1997).
The other key characteristic that often is associated with autism is when a child shows stereotyped as well as repetitive use of language. This is unusual in a child development because usual growth of a child is characterized by the development in eloquence of the language use. Excessive and repetitive use of language by a child may not necessarily been a sign of autism but such a child should further be examined so that treatment is administered in the event that autism is diagnosed.
Expert opinion has also advanced that a child’s preoccupation with certain objects should be a cause of worry and suspect for autism. Children with autism have been proven to be preoccupied excessively by certain objects. Usually, a child’s attention to an object or an activity is short lived, therefore a case where a child is preoccupied by a subject or object may be an indicator of the autism existence. Other trends that characterize children with autism include inflexibility with regard to adherence to specific rituals (Bolton, 1993).
Causes & Effects of Autism
In its context, autism is an abnormal chemistry in the brain. There are many reasons that have been fronted to account for the autism among children, as well as adults. However, the exact reason for this kind of disorder has not been known to date. However, from the research studies that have been unveiled to date, it has been discovered that the diseases may have genetic implications. However, other credible findings have pointed out the possibility of the disease to be caused by a combination of factors. The proponents of this idea front that the combination of people’s way of life and genetics make one suffer with ‘autism’ significantly. Therefore the dynamics of how ‘autism’ develops in a person may be varied.
It is also noted that genetic factors are seen to be core with regard to the prevalence of the disease. Proponents of this view advance that it is clear that genetic factors seem to play a significant role in many of the ‘autism’ cases. The case example may be the case of identical twins that were found to both have the ‘autism’ condition. Similarly, research conducted has also indicated that a good percentage of language abnormalities has been found to affect relatives of autistic children. Autistic persons have also had children who have suffered from the same disorder. Other expert opinions have indicated that the ‘Chromosomal abnormalities’ and other abnormalities related to the nervous system have been found to be more common in the families of individuals with autism (Brill, 2009).
In addition to the reasons indicated above, other possible causes that have been suspected by doctors and experts but not proven to date. These reasons include a diet where it has been suggested that a number of diets with high chemical components have led to a number of people getting this disease. Changes in digestive tract have also been suggested to be responsible for a number of cases of victims with ‘autism’. Mercury poisoning that comes because of using substances with mercury have also been fronted to cause this disorder. Other scientific observations that have been published involve the assertion that ‘autism’ may be caused by one’s body's being not able to convert vitamins and minerals to useful forms in the body properly. The other case that has also come up is a victim’s extreme sensitivity to vaccines” (Happé, 1995).
Autism and Vaccines
It is important to prevent this disease than to make efforts to treat it. This is because of the vaccines which have been released into the market. The success levels of the vaccines have been high in preventing children from catching up with this disorder. However, the key challenge that has affected the success levels of ‘autism vaccines’ is the fear that has grown among many parents particularly in the United States, is the fear that the vaccines which have been released in the market are not safe for the child. The fear that these vaccines have negative effects is unfounded since the vaccines have been taken through multiple tests to prove that they are safe for the consumption by the baby (Frith, 2003).
For the case of the individuals who are already victims of ‘’autism’, then treatment remains to be the permanent option. As much as there has not been proven a dose that would treat the autism disorder completely, when a patient takes treatment seriously, it has been proven to improve the state of the patients suffering from the disorder. It has been advanced that the earlier the patients get treatment the better the effectiveness of the treatment is. Many young children have been improved their status through the steady and intensive use of the vaccine. Therapeutic treatment of this disease through a specialist has been said to bring forth better health outcome to the child. A variety of therapies that may be applied include but are not limited to medications, physical therapy, speech language therapy, occupational therapy and applied behavior analysis. Other core therapies that have also worked affectively on individuals with ‘autism’ include the vision and the integration therapy. Expert opinion has fronted that the best treatment plan may encompass a combination of the different therapies and techniques of treatment.
A number of methods on how the disease can be treated include the behavioral interventions that have been fronted to be a remedy to the specific symptoms in individuals suffering from autism. Most professionals in the medical field agree that the effectiveness of the treatment given to a person with this disorder is dependent on when the treatment is administered. The earlier the time when one is introduced to the treatment is, the higher probability of great improvements is then. Other key forms of treatment that are effective in dealing with the disease include educational and behavioral interventions, which involve intensive skill-oriented training sessions which develop the child’s social and language skills.
In short, autism may be simply defined as a ‘brain disorder’. One that affects the functionig of a child’s day to day activities. The fact that the disease has a vaccinne, it is important for the parents as well as guardians to vaccinate their children so as to prevent the prevalence of the disease. As commonly said, prevention is better than cure, prevention in this case should be prior to the treatment of the victims of ‘autism’