Autism spectrum disorder is a developmental disorder marked by a lack of interest in social relations
Autism spectrum disorder is a developmental disorder marked by a lack of interest in social relations, abnormal language development, and repetitive behavior. Many children with autism prefer to have a highly predictable routine and hate to have them disrupted. The majority children with autism are low in intelligence. In the United States, 1 in 68 children fit the diagnostic criteria for the autistic spectrum disorder. About half of children with autism never develop language skills well enough to communicate basic needs. This topic is relevant to the course because usually the diagnosis of ASD is determined during toddlerhood, between eighteen and thirty months. A diagnosis can be made by the DSM-5. Since there are five main autism disorder that range from mild to severe, an abundance of research and articles can be found. The first being, Autism, which is characterized by impaired communication and social interaction. Then, there is Pervasive Developmental disorder it became the diagnosis applied to children or adults who are on the autism spectrum but do not fully meet the criteria for another ASD such as autistic disorder. Third, Rett syndrome is a X-linked genetic syndrome that occurs in girls who seem to develop relatively normally for at least the 1st year of life. Sometime during the 2nd year of life, a severe regression in cognitive, language, motor, and socialization skills occurs. Child disintegrative disorder is a rapid loss of cognitive and behavioral skills; the child’s previously normal development curve is reset to a moderately retarded level with the appearance of significant autistic features. Lastly, Asperger’s is a less severe form of autism and primarily deficits in social interactions and increased repetitive behavior. Signs of ASD involve lack of joint attention, withdrawn behavior, antisocial behaviors, problems with imaginative play, and problems or delays with communicating. Treatment for ASD are medication and behavioral intervention and outcomes vary. This paper will cover in depth about the autistic spectrum disorder, but more specifically about Autism, Pervasive developmental disorder, child disintegrative disorder, rett syndrome, and aspergers.
The Autism spectrum disorder is characterized in the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) as a neurodevelopmental disorder. With neurodevelopmental disorders, they “typically manifest early in development, often before the child enters grade school, and are characterized by developmental deficits that produce impairments of personal, social, academic, or occupational functioning (American Psychiatric association, 2013).” There are different severity levels for the autism spectrum. Severity level 1 (“requiring support”) without support, a person has deficits in social communication which causes noticeable impairments. The person has a hard time with initiating social interaction. The rigidity of behavior causes major disturbances with functioning in one or more contexts. Independence is hampered by trouble with organization and planning. Level 2 is defined as “requiring substantial support.” There are distinguished deficits in verbal and nonverbal social skills. “Social impairments apparent even with supports in place (American Psychiatric association, 2013).” Restricted or repetitive behaviors show frequently enough to be obvious and interfere with functions. The person has a difficult time changing focus or attention. In ASD level 3, individuals have severe deficits in verbal and nonverbal communication skills, which causes a very small amount of social interaction and few responses to social overtures. A person on this level may have an extreme difficulty adapting to change and they have very restricted behavior. In the DSM-5, individuals must have all three symptoms of social communication deficits and two of the four symptoms of restricted/repetitive behaviors listed in order to be diagnosed. Depression and anxiety may be more common in adolescents and adults with ASD. Some other features include motor deficits, self injury, or language impairment.
Eugen Bleuler was the first person to use the term autism in 1911 to describe a symptom in schizophrenia. “Autism is the most commonly studied of a spectrum of
developmental disorders that are believed to be neurobiologically based ( Lord, 2010).” In 1943, Leo Kanner conducted research in the United States labeling individuals with emotional and social limitations that also showed withdrawn behavior. He would name this “kanner’s syndrome.” Early signs of autism can be seen between the months of twelve and eighteen. There is not a direct cause of autism but scientist studied that the causes of autism could be environmental and genetic. “Young children with autism have difficulty learning to engage in everyday interactions with adults or other children (Tsao, 2008).” There is an absence of joint attention. Joint attention is when the parent is pointing and looking at a flower saying “look at the flower” and the child responds by looking at the flower because of their parents gaze and finger-pointing. Children at this age have a hard time with eye contact or facial expression. Joint attention helps with early social communication learning. “As a consequence, the autistic baby displays difficulties developing a mother/baby/object triad, leading to impairments in the development of joint attention and symbolization (Caminha, Lampreia,2012).” Those with autism tend to act odd or demonstrate socially inappropriate behaviors. Many obsess over certain objects or topics, and may insist on talking about it when others might not seem interested. For example, in the Netflix show called Atypical, the main character has autism and has an obsession with sharks. Whenever he is put in an awkward situation or making conversation, he always talks about sharks. The main character, sam, reacts in a temper tantrum when his stuff is touched or out of place; which is also a feature of autism. Autism is four more times likely to appear in males than females. Unfortunately, there is no current treatment for autism. Behavioral therapy is a common way to relieve some of those symptoms. Medication can not cure the direct symptoms of autism but some can treat the cofactors like anxiety or depression.
Pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified generalizes a group of disorders characterized by the deficit in development of communication and socialization skills. An individual is diagnosed with this if they do not meet the full criteria of autism, but show some signs. All children so now show the same symptoms and symptoms can be mild. Social symptoms include not understanding how to make friends, difficulty understanding emotions, body language, and facial expressions. Some children may not understand sarcasm and take things too literal. People with pdd-nos, have outbursts or tantrums and are very dependent on routines. There are no cures for this disorder but interventions seem helpful and make positive impacts.
Asperger’s syndrome is “characterized by problems in interpersonal relatedness, empathic communication, and imagination (Perlman, 2000).” In 1944 Hans Asperger identified this disorder along with Kanner. Another used term for asperger is “high-functioning autism”, because it is a milder form of autism and they tend to have an average IQ. Poor communication skill are a predominant trait among those with Aspergers. In contrast with autism, individuals with aspergers have good language skills. Some may speak in a formal way, that seems more mature for their age. They have a poor ability to small talk. They may be socially awkward or fail at picking up social cues. Another common trend is that, those diagnosed generally have a desire to fit in but do not know how. “They are generally unaware of the strangeness of their social presentation (Perlman, 2000).” When it comes to vocalising their own thoughts, they are direct. They often avoid eye contact or stare inappropriately. In order to be diagnosed with Aspergers, a kid must have normal intelligence and normal language development. There are many different types of therapies to help those with this disorder like, cognitive behavioral therapy, group psychotherapy, or even support groups.
Rett’s disorder is rare and mostly affects females because it is an X-linked disorder. Dr.Rhett noticed these two girls in his waiting room, making the same hand-washing movements. Rett’s is caused by a mutation on the x chromosome called the MECP2. It is not inherited by parents and it can affect the way they eat, talk, and walk. Rett’s syndrome is first recognized in infancy. Its “characterized by a developmental regression that typically begins between six and eighteen months and robs the child of purposeful hand use and expressive language (Rose, wass, Jankowski, 2017).” Other symptoms may include, seizures, scoliosis, breathing and sleeping problems. Diagnosis is the presence of the MECP2 mutation (which can be determined by a blood test) or a clinical diagnosis or both. Those with Retts will need to be taken care of throughout their life, and most live till their middle ages. Individuals also grow more slowly than other children. Rett syndrome is divided into four stages: early onset, rapid destruction, plateau, and late motor deterioration. In Early onset, signs and symptoms are diffused and easily unnoticed, which begins between six and eighteen months of age and might last for some months or a year. Babies in stage 1 may display less eye contact and begin to become bored in toys. They’ll also have delays in sitting or crawling. Rapid destruction starts between ages one and four. Kids lose the capacity to perform abilities they already had. This loss can be fast or more steady, happening over weeks or months. Indications of Rett disorder happen, for example, impeded head development, irregular hand movements, hyperventilating, shouting or crying for no evident reason, issues with development and coordination, and lost social communication. In plateau, seizures may start is this stage but not before two years old. In this stage, there is less crying and irritability but still problems with movement. In the last stage (10 years and onward), late motor deterioration, Comprehension, communication and hand capability for the most part, stay stable or enhance slightly, and seizures may happen less frequently. There is also no cure for Rett’s syndrome, but treatments include physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language therapy.
The last disorder under the spectrum is the child disintegrative disorder, also known as heller’s syndrome. The cause of this disorder is unknown, but researchers suggest that it has to do with the neurobiology of the brain. Children seem to develop normally until the age of two , then follow a regression of social function, motor skills, and developmental ability in language. Symptoms come very rapid. Skills required are lost of at least two of the following six: play skills, motor skills, social and self care skills, control over bowel and bladder, expressive language skills, and receptive language skills. Most treatment is behavior-based and is similar to autism. Care for individuals with CDD does not end when they become older, care is long-term.