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Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders

Introduction

Autism can be “defined as a complex developmental disability that normally appears during the first three years of life and is as a result of a neurological disorder that affects the normal functioning of the brain.” (Parker, p. 3) Researches conducted in the past indicate that biological causes are responsible for autism. The condition usually runs in families pointing towards a possible genetic cause. (“Evaluating Psychological Treatments for Children with autism spectrum disorders” apt.rpsych.org) Autism adversely affects the brain areas responsible for “social interaction and development of communication skills.” (Vitani, p. 20) Autism has presented a major huddle to social interaction by the affected individuals. This paper seeks to establish the challenges faced by these individuals, especially children while interacting with teachers, parents and peers; the psychological effects associated and the various methods used to treat or address the issue.

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Challenges in social interaction

The social interaction challenges faced by children with autism are mainly due to the fact that “they lack natural, built-in instincts necessary to attract other people.” (Parker, p. 10) The children often don’t find social interaction to be an enjoyable activity. They struggle to find comfort in the company of others. Autistic children differ from one another in many different ways. However, the difficulty in social interaction and difficulty in communication skills is present in all and is often used as a criteria identification of this condition. Many parents can sense their children are unusual as early as when the “children are still infants. The infants may have a problem feeding, dislike being changed or bathed, or fuss over any change in routine.” (Parker, p. 11) When the children get older the parents may begin to “notice impairments in social interaction, this is one of the earliest symptoms to develop.” (“Evaluating Psychological Treatments for Children with autism spectrum disorders” apt.rpsych.org) The child may fail to give a response when “his/her name is called out or may show very little facial expression unless extremely angry upset, or happy.” (Vitani, p. 15) At the age of seven to ten months, “some autistic children may resist being separated from their parents or a well-known caregiver.” (“Evaluating Psychological Treatments for Children with autism spectrum disorders” apt.rpsych.org) The infants may however show no resistance” when they are picked up by a stranger.” (Vitani, p. 20) Some children with this condition may appear to be very inactive, even though they offer no resistance to efforts from others to interact. This often presents a kind of disconnect while the affected child is learning and socializing with other children, others may try to initiate interaction with parents, other children and teachers, often in ways completely different from others. “This strikes other children as inappropriate, or odd,” further complicates the situation. (Parker, p. 43) Many autistic children “do not initiate social interaction by themselves” and this is an important aspect to consider in offering care or help to improve their interaction. (Parker, p. 44)

Psychological effects

The psychological characteristics presented by children suffering from autism include; “no fear of danger, avoiding of eye conduct, may have difficulty expressing what they want, may prefer to be by him/herself, may exhibit inappropriate laughing and may insist on same things always.” (“Evaluating Psychological Treatments for Children with autism spectrum disorders” apt.rpsych.org)The resistance to change is a major factor that can predispose autistic individuals to adverse psychological conditions, for instance, a divorce or family breakup can be traumatizing for them. However, Autistic children do not usually show psychological stress as a result of their condition or to reactions they receive from others by doing things differently. Psychological effects are mainly observed in parents, siblings and other people who are close to the affected child. Studies conducted indicate that “psychological and emotional skills are typically enhanced in these” people. (Parker, p. 30) “But the risks of unfavorable impacts increase with the increase in the number of demographic disadvantages.” (Parker, p. 30) This also depends on family bonds, however, it is generally accepted that “the complexity level, unpredictability and the inexplicability of autism in question, underlies the risk of impaired psychological functioning within a family.” (“Evaluating Psychological Treatments for Children with autism spectrum disorders” apt.rpsych.org)Parents of children with autism, especially mothers are more often diagnosed with high than normal stress levels. “Siblings of affected individuals have a greater risk of negative wellbeing and poor relationships among” (Parker, p. 32) themselves when they grow up.

Treatment for Autism

“Currently there is no known cure for Autism.” (“Evaluating Psychological Treatments for Children with autism spectrum disorders” apt.rpsych.org) The approaches used are aimed at alleviating the symptoms presented by the condition. For instance, helping the person’s ability to communicate effectively, interact well with others and “deal with repetitive behaviors.” (Vitani, p. 17) Therapies for autistic children range from “developmental, educational, psychological, pharmacological and alternative or complementary therapies.” (Parker, p. 54) A number of “psychologically-based interactions” are indicated to improve the social interaction of children with autism. (Parker, p. 54) These “include interventions designed to enhance cognitive and behavioral functioning, and those with a focus on the specific deficits associated with autism.” (“Evaluating Psychological Treatments for Children with autism spectrum disorders” apt.rpsych.org) The behavioral approaches include; “discrete trial training and pivotal response training.” (“Evaluating Psychological Treatments for Children with autism spectrum disorders” apt.rpsych.org)The programs include wide-ranging strategies that are designed for autism, “with emphasis on the reinforcement of desired behavior.” (Parker, p. 56) It is important that the teacher or trainer fully “understands what factors are affecting a child with autism” that are making it difficult for him/her to learn. (Vitani, p. 27)

Works cited

  1. “Evaluating Psychological Treatments for Children with autism spectrum disorders.” apt.rcpsych.org. 2010.
  2. Parker, Randall. Supporting the Families of Children with Autism. New York: Wiley, 1999. Print
  3. Vitani, Reiter. “Inclusion of Pupils with Autism.” Developmental disorders (2007): 11(4) 321-333.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, December 26). Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/children-with-autism-spectrum-disorders/

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StudyCorgi. (2021, December 26). Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders. https://studycorgi.com/children-with-autism-spectrum-disorders/

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"Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders." StudyCorgi, 26 Dec. 2021, studycorgi.com/children-with-autism-spectrum-disorders/.

1. StudyCorgi. "Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders." December 26, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/children-with-autism-spectrum-disorders/.


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StudyCorgi. "Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders." December 26, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/children-with-autism-spectrum-disorders/.

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StudyCorgi. 2021. "Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders." December 26, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/children-with-autism-spectrum-disorders/.

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StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders'. 26 December.

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