Essay about Autism

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There are many diseases and disorders that plague today’s society, but one of the most serious of those disorders is autism. Autism is not nearly as widely known as the familiar Down’s Syndrome, yet, surprisingly, autism is far more widespread. In fact, autism is the third most common developmental disability, affecting 400,000 people worldwide (Autism Society of America). As of yet there is no cure for this debilitating disorder, only a variety of treatments.
Autism is a developmental disability, not a mental illness, that typically appears during the first three years of life and affects 15 of every 10,000 individuals. No one is certain why it occurs, but researchers have found that MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scans of people with
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Some of the treatments include behavioral training, teaching of communication and social skills, auditory training, medications, and a change in diet.
Behavioral training or modification, as it is also called, deals with changing or extinguishing inappropriate behaviors and increasing positive behaviors. A few methods are used to do this. One way is self-management where the individual monitors their behavior and receives self-reinforcement. Another method used is modeling. This is when the teacher or therapist demonstrates what is being done so the child can “model” the steps. Behavioral training is effective in stopping self-inflicted pain by shaping and distributing positive reinforcement.
The teaching of communication and social skills is an integral part of treating autism. Speech therapy may include gaining language skills or learning sign language. Some devices are used frequently such as picture communication boards. Another device is used with a trained professional supporting the hand or arm of the person helping them to punch keys on a device. This technique, called facilitated communication, is highly controversial because it is sometimes thought that the facilitator is directing the person’s arm unknowingly. One of the main characteristics of autism is the lack of understanding of social cues (Autism Society of America). The person with autism may be taught how to communicate in social situations or respond to certain facial

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