Thesis statement: Imagine your life without social, speech or communication skills and having to live with a day-to-day struggle that seem to be such an easy small part of our everyday lives.
Introduction: Imagine not being able to understand communication signals, such as not being able to recognize whether someone is being sarcastic, serious, mean, funny, kind, or rude. What if you couldn’t tell that your classmates were making fun of you right before your eyes? According to the Autism Science Foundation, this situation is affecting 1 in 88 children. It’s also more common in boys, with a ratio of 1 to 50. This disorder is called autism.
According to the National Library of Medicine, autism is defined as a developmental disorder that appears in the first 3 years of life, and affects the brain’s normal development of social and communication skills.
You’re probably wondering why I’m so interested in this disorder. Autism doesn’t only affect the child, but it also affects the entire family. I’ve experienced this personally by from my 10-year-old nephew, who I have watched grow up and I’ve seen how it has effected his life.
This is why I want to inform you of the symptoms and causes of autism. Most of us will be having children in the future, so I think it’s good to be educated in such a common disorder.
Body: According to Mayo Clinic, children with autism have problems in developing social skills, language, and behavior. They don’t respond to their own name, they appear to not hear you at times; they don’t like affection, and prefer to play alone. Usually the child doesn’t speak, but when spoken to, they use an abnormal rhythm. Their behavior symptoms include performing repetitive movements (such as rocking), they are fascinated by details of an object, such as the wheels on a car, but not understand the big idea of the toy car. A child with autism may ignore objects or become obsessively attached to them. Many of these individuals may react to sounds differently, doing things such as banging their head or waving fingers in the air. They also may perform activities that could harm them such as head banging. The biggest symptoms would include not responding with a smile, or other facial expressions by 6 months, not babbling or using simple gestures by 12 months, and not saying single words by 16 months.
My nephew didn’t start talking until he was four years old which caused frustration for not us, but Brenden as well. He couldn’t catch on to simple words such as “food” or “drink”. Brenden would get frustrated and would usually just scream and bang his head on the floor out of anger.
According to the Autism Society, there is no known single cause for autism, but it is accepted that it is caused by abnormalities in brain structure and function. Many theories have been proposed, but no theory has been proved completely. Some brain x-rays have shown that there is a different in the shape and structure of a brain with autism. Researchers have looked into many different theories including linking the causes between heredity, genetics and medical problems. In a lot of families, there seems to be a pattern of other related disorders.
I had never even heard of autism before my nephew was born ten years ago, and now I find it crazy how common this disorder has become. Having an autistic nephew, my family has had to develop a lot of patience just in raising Brenden. Almost all of his motor skills were developed later than normal children. Brenden didn’t develop speech skills or potty training skills until much later. However, his intelligence is remarkable. Brenden lacks skills when it comes to playing games, sports, or just making conversation with children his age because he is way past their level so he has been called named such as weird, or a nerd. Intelligence is the hidden quality people aren’t aware of in autism. In words from my dad, “Autistic people may not ever be able to drive a car, but they will go further than any of us”
In conclusion, autism is a disorder I believe you should be aware of. This disorder has been increasing in numbers recently, and it is extremely hard to deal with an autistic child. Unfortunately, there is no specific cure for autism, however there are some treatments and medications that are said to reduce some symptoms. I would have never known of autism if it wasn’t for my nephew, and I feel like I still do not fully understand it. However, I have developed a better understanding and respect for the individuals who have to deal with these issues everyday. I hope to learn more about the disorder, and hope for a cure someday.
Board, A.D.A.M. Editorial. Autism. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 18 Nov. 0000. Web. 09 Jan. 2013.
“Autism Society” Autism Society. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Jan. 2013.
“Research.” Autism Speaks. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Jan. 2013.