Humanbeings are at a constant risk of suffering from different mentalconditions. Autism is among these disorders, and its symptoms arediscovered during childhood and they continue mutating with age.Autism is defined as a neurotransmitter condition that interfereswith the ability of a patient to communicate and socialize, inaddition to increasing their preference for repetitive tasks(Ratajczak, 2011, p. 68). Autism has existed in the entire humanhistory, but it was first described in 1943 by Leo Kanner (Ratajczak,2011, p. 68). This paper will address the prevalence,characteristics, causes, mechanisms, and strategies for themanagement of autism.
Autismis a disorder that affects children from any social, ethnic, orracial background without discrimination. Currently, it is estimatedthat about one out of every 68 children fall within the autismspectrum disorder (Center for Disease Control, 2015, p. 1). Someparts of the world (including Europe, North America, and Asia have aprevalence rate of about 1 %, while South Korea’s prevalence ratereaches 2.6 % (CDC, 2015, p. 1). Some children display a few of thesymptoms that are associated with autism. For example, about 1 out ofevery six children in the U.S. has some developmental disabilities.Therefore, it is quite clear that autism is a common disorder thataffects children from both the developed and the developing nations.
Severesymptoms of autism are discovered starting from the age of about sixmonths and continue into adolescence and adulthood, although they mayoccur in mutated form in the higher levels of development. Thesesymptoms may be grouped into three major categories. The firstcategory includes distortion of social interactions, where autisticpatients tend to take other people for granted, find it difficult toestablish friendships, and prefer staying alone (Ratajczak, 2011, p.68). The second category is impairment of communication whereautistic patients fail to develop a natural speech that is sufficientto meet their communication needs (Ratajczak, 2011, p. 68). Forexample, an autistic child may find it difficult to develop symptomsused in communication into language. The third category is repetitivebehavior. Autistic patients like repeating things (such asarrangement of objects and skin picking), some of which may causeinjuries.
Researchershave not managed to identify the specific cause of autism, but it iswidely accepted that the disorder arises from abnormalities thatoccur within the brain and affect its functionality. This has beenconfirmed by differences in the structure as well as the shape ofchildren suffering from autism and the normal kids (Brasic &Pataki, 2015, p. 1). Abnormalities within the brain may be caused bymultiple factors, including environmental factors (such as exposureto chemicals during birth or infancy), neurological factors (such asan abnormal development of the nervous system), and psychologicalfactors, such as depression (Joshi, Percy & Brown, 2014, p. 11).It is also suspected that genetic mutation and vaccine antigens couldresult in autism, but studies are going on to verify this claim.
Thelack of a single factor that can be associated with the occurrence ofautism makes it difficult to explain or comprehend its mechanism ofoccurrence. However, there are two possible mechanisms that have beensupported by many researchers. In the first mechanism,pathophysiology, abnormalities occur in the cellular configuration ofcells found in critical parts (such as temporal and frontal lobes) ofthe brain (Brasic & Pataki, 2015, p. 1). Hippocampus and amygdalamay be enlarged in some patients. A large number of neurons developin select parts of the prefrontal cortex. A combination of theseoccurrences reduces the functionality of the brain, leading toautism. Secondly, the theories of neuropsychology hold that autismoccurs when a dysfunction on one’s executive functions (such asplanning and working memory) takes place (Gliga, Jones, Bedford,Charman & Johnson, 2014, p. 1). This occurs when an individualfails to comprehend some social emotions, especially the complex onesand the consideration of the viewpoints of others.
Autismis managed using three major interventions, including education,alternative medicine, and medication. The most common strategy iseducation, which involve training of patients to carry out certainactivities over time until they can do them on their own (Bryson,Rogers & Fombonne, 2003, p. 512). Teachers may help patients leansome cognitive as well as social skills as they grow. It isrecommended that pharmacological drugs should be used sparingly toreduce the seizure threshold. Medication may be used when a need toaddress symptoms that limit patient’s integration into the familyand school are discovered. Alternative therapeutic strategies (suchas botched chelation treatment) may be used, but it may causenumerous side effects.
Autismis among the most common mental conditions that affect childrenirrespective of their social, ethnic, or racial backgrounds. The keycharacteristics of autism include a significant impairment in thecommunication, social skills, and a tendency to repeat things. Autismis not associated with a single cause, but there are several factors(such as genetic disposition, neurological disorders, environmentalfactors, psychological factors) that make a significant contributiontowards its occurrence. The lack of a specific fact that can beattributed to autism makes it hard to explain its mechanism ofoccurrence. Autism is mainly management through education, butalternative medicine and the use of pharmacological drugs may be usedat times.
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Centerfor Disease Control (2015). Autism spectrum disorder: Data andstatistics. CDC.Retrieved December 9, 2015, fromhttp://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/data.html
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