Term Paper: Autistic Spectrum Disorders

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[. . .] (Autism FAQ - Similar Conditions)

There is another disease called LKS Landau-Kleffner syndrome which is also called acquired childhood epileptic aphasia. This is a very rare disorder and the patients show normal development and age appropriate language development for the age up to 7 years; then loses receptive language though retains some expressive language; the speech becomes 'telegraphic' with the use of few verbs; the child remains frustrated with the changes that the child observes; the behaviors become autistic; normal or above normal non-verbal scores in IQ; abnormal EEG which would be with or without seizures. Some doctors feel that childhood disintegrative disorder or "late outset" autism may be called Landau- Kleffner Syndrome.

The fifth similar affliction is called PKU "Phenylketonuria." This is a genetic disorder of metabolism and this result in brain damage during the initial years of life if special steps are not taken. The defect in the body system is inadequate production of enzymes to convert amino acid phenylalanine into tyrosine, which is another amino acid. This extra quantity of phenylalanine accumulates in the fluids of the body and gets changed into certain chemicals that damage the human brain. This results in symptoms which are shown in mental retardation as also some symptoms of autism. This deficiency is now being removed through screening of all children immediately after birth so that the children can be given the required diet. The last in the list is Rett's Syndrome and that is a neurological problem occurring only in girls. Here the girls show proper development initially and then stop developing. The symbols are similar to autism. (Autism FAQ - Similar Conditions)

Autism has been well studied and according to authorities the patient must have at least six of the indication as listed below. Of them two have to be from those under group 1 and one each from those under groups 2 and 3. The afflictions listed under group 1 are called impairment in social interaction as demonstrated by deficiencies in using non-verbal behavior like eye-to-eye contacts, facial expressions, body postures and gestures; the next qualities are in failures to develop peer relationships suitable for the age group; lack of spontaneous desire to share enjoyment, interests or achievements with other people; and lack of social or emotional reciprocity. This is manifested through not actively participating in simple social plays or games and instead preferring solitary activities or even involving others only as tools or mechanical aids. (Autism FAQ - Definition of Autism)

The activities under group 2 are about qualitative impairments in communication. This has to be shown by delay in or a total lack of development of spoken language without using of alternative modes like gesture or mimes; even when individuals can speak, they are not able to start or continue conversation with others; in communication to have stereotyped and repetitive language or idiosyncratic language; and lack of varied or spontaneous make believe play or social imitations suitable to the level of the person.

The activities under group 3 are restricted and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests or activities. This is seen in at least two of the following set of four -- encompassing preoccupation with some stereotyped and restricted patterns of interests that is not normal for the age; an apparent unchanging fixation to some routines or rituals without any function; stereotyped and repetitive use of parts of body like finger flapping or twisting or even other total body movements; and continued interest with parts of objects. The other major indication comes from delays or abnormal functioning of some of the following activities before the age of three -- social interaction; use of language as used in social communication; and symbolic or imaginative play. At the same time, one has to be sure that the disturbances as seen in the person are not better understood to be due to Rett's Disorder or Childhood Disintegrative Disorder. (Autism FAQ - Definition of Autism)

The next question is of determining why autism takes place. There had been ideas earlier that autism was a disease of the psychological part of humans, but today most researchers are convinced that the disease comes from biology. This concept has started from Infantile Autism, a book written in 1965 by Bernard Rimland, and there it has been made clear that parents do not cause children to be autistic. The first of these reasons is that parents who do not fit the autistic parent personality always have autistic children. On the other side, parents seem to be of the type near pathogenic carriers of autistic pathogen end up having normal and non-autistic children. From the side of children, it is seen that siblings of autistic children are generally normal. Another point that is seen is that autistic children are recognized to be unusual in terms of their behavior from the time of their birth. The fifth point to be noted is that the regular ratio of three or four boys for every girl is maintained. (Autism FAQ - Theories and Causes)

The sixth point to be noted is that practically in all cases where one of the twins is afflicted with autism, even the other is afflicted. The symptoms of autism are very similar to symptoms seen in children who are known to have suffered organic brain damage. The total symptoms seen in the case of autism are unique and specific, and are not necessarily duplicated in different autistic children. There are no grades of autism, and that makes it impossible for understanding the disease to have stages in which it occurs. There are further studies taken through MRI and PET scans of the brain of afflicted children and that shows the occurrence of subtle cellular changes in their brains. It is also seen that there are increased incidences of seizures when they reach adolescence and this also is a guide to differences in neurology. (Autism FAQ - Theories and Causes)

The next important question is to find out how the autistic symptoms start in children. The first theory is that of infections from yeast, or from the intolerance of certain food substances. This can be from intolerance to Gluten which can cause what is called "leaky gut syndrome" or to intolerance. These may be leading to the infections passing through the intestine and thus allowing improperly digested peptides to get into the bloodstream. Having entered the bloodstream, it may be possible for some of them to cross the barrier between the brain and blood and this may mimic neurotransmitters and thus finally affecting the sensory input of the individual. There are also theories that this "leaky gut syndrome" happens to individuals due to the lack of beneficial bacteria in their digestive system which help digestion. This apparently results in certain matter entering bloodstream to provoke and unnecessary immune reaction.

Another major theory is that this happens due to Phenol-sulphertransferase or PST deficiency. This means that some individuals who have autism are low on sulfates or enzymes that use the above item, PST, in the form of phenol-sulpho-transferase-P. If this shortage exists then the body system of the individual will not be able to get rid of the amines and phenol compounds after the body has finished using them. If these keep staying on in the body then it may lead to some adverse effects and may even affect the brain. To treat this problem, some dietary restrictions are recommended as also Epsom salt baths. There are also some simple reasons which are suggested like brain injury, constitutional vulnerability, developmental aphasia, deficits in reticular activating system, interplay between psychogenic and neuro-developmental factors with an unfortunate result, structural changes in the cerebrum, genetic reasons, effects of virus, or problems with immunology vaccines or seizures. (Autism FAQ - Theories and Causes)

Important concern has been developed in the lay and medical communities by means of a theory which enhanced measles-mumps-rubella or MMR immunization among young children might be the cause of a likeable marked enhancement in the occurrence of autism. (Dales; Hammer; Smith, 2001) Some studies have also found associations between autism and other factors in the case of the children affected by the disease. It starts with breech deliveries of babies, low Apgar scores of the baby which is the result of a study carried out 15 minutes after the birth of the baby, the birth of the baby taking place before 35 weeks of pregnancy, a history of parents having a psychosis which looks like schizophrenia, etc. Another cause is the history of the parent suffering from similar disorders and that includes psychoses, depression and bipolar disorders. At the same time, while all these theories may not have been tested out, there is not reason to believe that these are the causes for the occurrence of autism. It can also be seen that many babies are born under some of the above conditions, but it is also clear that all of them do not end up as autistic babies. (Possible Autism Causes from Parents,… [END OF PREVIEW]

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