Genetics and the Possible Causation of Autism Spectrum Disorders

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In 1911, Eugene Bleuler, a Swiss psychiatrist, began using the term “autism”, which stems from the Greek word “autos”, meaning “self.” Bleuler used the term to describe a group of symptoms seem in patients suffering from schizophrenia. Essentially, the term means an “isolated self” or a person excluded from social interactions. In the 1940s, researchers in the United States modified the term to describe children who experienced emotional or social problems. Thus, relinquishing the word “autism” from it's connection to schizophrenia (Hirsh 2009, pg 1). Today autism is described as a complex developmental disability, and the term Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) is used to encompass a group of disabilities with similar features. The three …show more content…
Another symptom that is widely seen is the inability to control voice tone or body language. Many people suffering from ASDs use a flat, monotone voice, even when speaking of things that interest them. They also give non-verbal body language signs that don't correspond with things being said at the time. This makes it extremely hard for others to understand and interpret what people with ASDs are trying to communicate (NIMH, pg 7-8). Not only do people with ASDs have problems communicating, they also have issues with social interactions. Children with ASDs tend to limit interactions and avoid eye contact. They are seen as disinterested and indifferent. While studies have shown that children with ASDs are attached to their parents, they cannot express this affection and attachment. They also cannot interpret social cues, such as frowning, smiling, or extending arms for a hug. To a person with an ASD, every expression means the same thing. They have difficulty seeing the world through another person's perspective, which significantly increases the disconnect between those with ASDs and those without (NIMH, pg 8-9). The third group of symptoms that people with autism spectrum disorders exhibit are repetitive behaviors. Many children begin to form daily routines and become extremely discomforted when these routines are interrupted. The repetitive behaviors can take the form of many things, such as a child spending hours organizing his toys in a specific

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