Overcoming Communication Barriers Term Paper

Pages: 8 (2326 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  Level: College Sophomore  ·  Topic: Communication

Autism: Overcoming Communication Barriers

a) Background: Autism

What is Autism?

History of Autism, including research done in an effort to understand Autistic.

Characteristics of a child with Autism b) Background: Communication

Communication definition, methods, history.

Importance of communication to human life.

A c) Analysis of the effects of Autism on communication.

Development of a?€ normal?€ child with regard to communication.

Development of an Autistic child with regard to communication.

Barriers created due to the difference in development.

Effect of barriers on the life of an Autistic child.

A d) Conclusion: Overcoming barriers of Autism in communication.

Application of knowledge?€ how to overcome barriers of communication.

What more can be done to help.

Background:

Although Autism has been prevalent within the American medical community since the turn of the 20th century, it has recently become a hotbed issue within the medical community due to an increase in autism development in children since the 1990s. Autism is a very complex developmental disability, it is classified by the World Health Organization as a developmental disability that "results from a disorder of the human central nervous system" (WHO, npg). Autism typically appears during the first three years of a child's life, and can be attributed to a neurological disorder that affects the normal functions of the brain. This disorder mainly impacts the development of brain activity centered on social interaction and communication skills. Individuals with autism will show difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication and social interactions. Autism is one of the five disorders that belong to the category of Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD). This category of neurological disorders is characterized by "severe impairment in several areas of development" (ASA, npg). Diagnosis of autism is based upon a group of three behavioral impairments: impaired social interactions, impaired communication and restricted and repetitive interests and activities (ASA, npg).

Autism has a diagnosed disorder did not occur until 1942 when psychiatrist Leo Kanner of John Hopkins first described the symptoms of autism and created the three stage criteria for judging autism. However, early discovery into autism occurred as early as the 1910s, when the disorder was thought to be associated with schizophrenia. Kanner used the word autism because he described his child patients as seemingly lacking interest in other people. Today, autism is listed within the DSM-IV-TR as a PDD.

Autism is the most common of the Pervasive Developmental Disorders. It is estimated to affect 1 in 150 births (Center for Disease Control Prevention, 2007). There are believed to be 1.5 million Americans with autism today, although many of them are not diagnosed. Recent reports have shown that autism has been growing at a significantly fast pace. Diagnosed cases are increasing at the rate of 10 to 17% per year. The Autism Society of America believes that the number of people effected by the disease may grow to 4 million by the end of the decade. Autism has no roots in racial, ethnic, social or income related factors. Research have shown that although autism is consistent on a global level, males for four times more prevalent to get autism than females.

Current and past research into autism has developed many different alternative understandings of how autism developed. One explanation forwarded by researchers at Washington University is that a variation occurs in such a way that the brain reacts to sensory input. Research shows that adults with autism show differences in how neural activity becomes coordinated. The outcome is that there could be underdeveloped methods for how the brain internally communicates. The study conducted indicated that abnormalities exist in the patterns in which brain cells connect to the temporal lobe of the brain. Autism affects a significant portion of the brain, research shows that autism patients have problems with complex tasks as well as simple communication problems, suggesting that many different parts of the brain are affected by the disorder. In tests of visual and spatial skills, autistic children were actually skilled in finding small objects in complex pictures, however they could not distinguish between similar looking people. The more research in autism suggest that autism is not "compartmentalized" into a certain section of the brain but rather is a very pervasive disorder. The majority of research indicates that genetics plays a significant role in autism.

Autism is considered to be incurable although a many different autism therapies have been developed to improve the health and well-being of autism patients. Scientists are currently still struggling to understand how autism develops and the root causes of how the disorder develops in general.

Individuals with autism are not physically impaired, most of their characteristics are exhibited through their inability to communicate in social situations. Individuals with autism vary vastly in how much their skills and behaviors are affected. Certain stimulations such as light, sounds and touch will affect autism patients differently. Some common behavioral symptoms include, the inability to respond to their name, inability to explain what they want, slow language skills and delayed speech. All of this can be framed in the context of social interactions and communication.

Background: Communication

Communication be broadly defined as the "passing of information from one cognitive entity to another" (NOTATION). Communication occurs in every aspect of physical living through both verbal and nonverbal channels. In general communication development occurs on many different levels, in many different mechanisms, and through many different mediums. Human communication is broadly separated into many different categories including intrapersonal communication, interpersonal community, and group dynamics. Intrapersonal communication can be defined as the use of language or thought internal to the communicator. Such communication occurs internally and therefore the individual is the personal sender and reader within this type of communication. Common forms of intrapersonal communication can be seen in daydreaming, dreaming, speaking aloud, etc. Interpersonal communication on the other hand is the process of sending and receiving information with another person or people. Interpersonal communication will be the focus of the following discussion. Interpersonal communication encompasses many different mediums of communication including verbal communication and nonverbal communication.

Speech is one of the primary methods by which Interpersonal communication occurs. Speech is learned as early as the pre-natal stage, as children develop they cognitively register speech. Language assimilation at an early age for most children is attributed to the need of the brain to develop a linguistic and verbal outlet for ideation. The development of speech and understanding is crucial to developing the ability to socially interact. The history of speech can be recorded to the beginning of human society. Currently there are over 130 different languages within the world.

Nonverbal communication is considered by most linguists and anthropologists to be just as essential if not more so than verbal communication in developing social constructs. Nonverbal communication is generally understood as the process of communicating without speech. Communication through gestures, body language, facial expression, eye contact, etc. are all representative of nonverbal communication. The study of nonverbal communication and its social importance can be traced to the 19th century. Most notably is Charles Darwin's book "The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals." Nonverbal communications is very much a social edifice that is based on arbitrary symbols which can be different across different cultures.

The importance of communication within human life is hardly definable, as every part of communication affects the construct of human life. As intrinsically social creatures, communications is the medium by which individuals can convey and express ideas and develop social relationships. Without the ability to affectively communicate, individuals suffer from both ostracism as well as retardation of personal growth. Communication is a medium by which learning takes place, and therefore communication is the key to social, cultural and psychological growth in general. Communication becomes the center stone of ideation, the creation of new ideas. It is also the crucial element in cultural understanding, the ability to fit in within an established culture. Without communication, human beings loses the capacity to grow in several different arenas. Therefore communication could be said to be the paramount human construct to our formation as thinking and social beings.

Analysis of the Effects of Autism on Communication:

For normal development of communication within children, the most intensive period of speech and language development will occur within the first three years of life. This is the period when the brain will develop and mature at the fastest pace. Research have shown that there are "critical periods" for which speech and language development occurs in infants and young children. During this critical period, the brain can absorb any language. For the normal child, basic nonverbal communication can be mastered within the first few days of birth as the infant learns how to cry and smile. When children reach the first few months, they begin to develop the ability to formulate sounds, or phenoms. By the beginning of the first year, infants usually have mastered a few simple words. By eighteen months, most children will be able to say anywhere from eight to ten words. It is during the period between years two… [END OF PREVIEW]

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