Autism is one of the most common mental diseases impacting young children. This developmental disability can cause severe complications, so it is necessary to diagnose the problem as soon as possible. There are some popular myths about autism, but scholars dispel such fictitious stories and emphasize the interrelation between autism and genetic functions. The present paper investigates the prevalence of autism and delineates the suggested treatment options.
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Statistics on Autism Prevalence in the USA
Autism belongs to developmental disabilities that are frequently characterized by brain-functioning complications. When a child is diagnosed with autism, it is most likely that he or she will need a large number of treatments and services that will help to cope with developmental and behavioral issues (Zablotsky, Black, Maenner, Schieve, & Blumberg, 2015). According to the National Health Statistic Report, in 2014, there was a considerable increase in autism spectrum disorder prevalence: 2.24% (1 in 45) (Zablotsky et al., 2015). The most vulnerable children populations as of 2014 were male (75.0%), non-Hispanic whites (59.9%), with at least one parent having the level of education higher than school (67.6%), and with two parents (68.0%) (Zablotsky et al., 2015). These statistics indicate that the number of children having autism is growing, and it is necessary to take measures on the prevention and effective treatment of this disease.
Autism Myth: The Rise of Diagnoses Has Been Caused by Vaccines
There are many myths associated with autism, but the major one is that this condition can be caused by vaccines. Hupp and Jewell (2015) remark that while autism is mainly provoked by genes, there are many people believing that vaccination can generate this illness. Scholars agree that the environment plays an “important, although poorly understood” role (Hupp & Jewell, 2015, p. 78). Still, Hupp and Jewell (2015) find the tendency of relating vaccination to autism absurd. Some doctors and parents have reported that children developed autism after the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccination. However, there is no evidence of the connection apart from their deductions (Hupp & Jewell, 2015). Thus, the opinion that autism can be brought about by vaccination is a myth.
Early Treatment of Autism
The earlier the disease is diagnosed, the easier it is to select the most appropriate treatment options. In their research, Rogers et al. (2014) outline several treatment procedures for the most typical behaviors of infants with autism. For instance, to encourage a child to play with toys, it is recommended to follow the child’s interest in some object. Then, it is possible to initiate a social game where turns are taken with the object (Rogers et al., 2014). To cope with abnormal repetitive behaviors, parents should follow the child’s interest and create age-appropriate “sensory motor schemas” for repetitive movements (Rogers et al., 2014, p. 2986). Then, motor movements are shaped into communicative gestures with the help of the hierarchy. Another suggestion made by Rogers et al. (2014) concerns the limited social engagement of autistic children. To manage this problem, it is suggested to position oneself and the child for “maximal face-to-face orientation” and arrange social games to learn about the infant’s preferences (Rogers et al., 2014, p. 2986). Using this tactic will allow parents to engage their child in social communication.
Factors Impacting Parents’ Decisions Regarding Interventions
Because of a large number of proposed interventions, parents of children with autism frequently meet the challenge of what approach to choose. Hebert (2014) identifies three major types of attributes affecting parents’ choices: parental, child’s, and program’s. Parental attributes include personal experiences, the perception of autism, the style of parenting, and the parental role. Two most important aspects are the inner sense and perspectives on how children learn (Hebert, 2014). Child’s attributes include the level of development and age and the needs of the child. Program attributes incorporate parents’ perceptions of therapeutic approaches, intensity, physical and social environment, teachers, and cost (Hebert, 2014). Thus, apart from the variety of treatment options, there are many factors influencing the parents’ choice of these options.
Autism is one of the most common mental problems faced by the US children the prevalence of which is constantly increasing. It is necessary to combine the efforts of parents, healthcare specialists, and educators to reach the best outcomes. Out of the variety of treatment approaches, parents select those which they consider the most reliable or suitable for their child. It is crucial to provide support to children suffering from autism to make their assimilation into society easier.
Hebert, E. B. (2014). Factors affecting parental decision-making regarding interventions for their child with autism. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 29(2), 111-124.
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Hupp, S., & Jewell, J. (2015). Great myths of child development. Malden, MA: Wiley Blackwell.
Rogers, S. J., Vismara, L., Wagner, A. L., McCormick, C., Young, G., & Ozonoff, S. (2014). Autism treatment in the first year of life: A pilot study of infant start, a parent-implemented intervention for symptomatic infants. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 44(12), 2981-2995.
Zablotsky, B., Black, L. I., Maenner, M. J., Schieve, L. A., & Blumberg, S. J. (2015). Estimated prevalence of autism and other developmental disabilities following questionnaire changes in the 2014 national health interview survey. National Health Statistics Reports, 87, n.p.