Depth Look At Autism Spectrum Disorder

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In Depth look at Autism Spectrum Disorder
Leydi A. Zapata
Columbia Basin College

In Depth look at Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autism Spectrum Disorder, or ASD, is a complex developmental disorder which is usually diagnosed during the first 3 years of life. The disorder is characterized by severe difficulty or inability in communicating, socializing, forming relationships with others, and responding appropriately to the environment. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM-IV, ASD was one of the diagnosis covered under the Persuasive Developmental Disorders category. The other diagnoses that were part of this category included Rett’s Disorder, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, Asperger’s
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Autism has become one of the fastest growing developmental disorder in the recent years. In the year 2000, the prevalence of ASD was 1 out of 150 school-age children (Schaefer, 2016, pg***). According to the latest data by the Center of Disease Control, or CDC, it is estimated that the incidence is now 1 in every 68 children that is diagnosed with autism in the United States. It is also estimated that autism is approximately 4.5 times more common among boys (1 in 42) than among girls (1 in 189) (CDC, 2014).
Risks and Predisposing Factors
From the time autism was identified in the 1940s, several theories have tried to explain its etiology. The earliest theories proposed as origin of autism was framed in the context of the early psychiatric models in the 1940’s, and believed that autism was “an acquired condition associated with children raised by cold, emotionally-distant mothers” (Schaefer, ***). Another early hypothesis proposed as being a risk for developing autistic disorder was the use of the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine or the preservative thimerosal, but this hypothesis has been disproved (Anagnostou, Zwaigenbaum…., pg 510). It is now known that autism is a condition with a strong genetic basis, with more than 80% heritability (Meng-chang pg 903), but just like almost every medical condition known to man, it has several genetic and environmental risk factors. As mentioned earlier, autistic disorder is 4.5 times more common in males than females, which
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