High-Functioning Autism through Rain Man Essay

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High-Functioning Autism through Rain Man

A man and his brother walk down the terminal in an airport. They engage in a heated argument over whether they should board an airplane for Los Angeles. The older brother complains about taking an airplane and fears for his life, telling his brother about the crashes that every airline has had. The younger brother becomes annoyed and tells him that every airline has crashed at one point or another. To this, the older brother exclaims, “Qantas never crashed.” Upset at his obstinacy and refusing to fly to Australia just to travel to Los Angeles, the younger brother attempts to pull the older. He responds in the only way he knows—by
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Etiology and History of Diagnosis

Autism has undergone significant definition changes in the past. The term was first used in 1912 by the Swiss psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler from the Greek word for self—autos—in his description of patients with “schizophrenic thinking divorced from both logic and reality” (Rorvik 249). However, an established set of guidelines for diagnosis would not be established until 1943, when Leo Kanner, a German émigré to the United States, wrote “Autistic Disturbances of Affective Content”, a landmark essay in which he “described eleven children who, from infancy, had seemed to cut off from their parents…[and] existed in their own, often impenetrable world” (Pollak 250). The common features that he noticed in those eleven children were “(1) a social impairment characterized by an aloofness and lack of reciprocity; (2) a failure to communicate manifested by muteness, echolalia [a condition of repeating others rather than responding to them], or an inability to get intonations right; and (3) repetitious, stereotyped behavior, like rocking and twiddling in small children and the preoccupation with, say, railroad schedules in older ones” (Pollak 250). Though Kanner suspected a neurological fault, he could not find proof and suggested initially that autism might have been psychogenic. His initial findings convinced him that nearly all of the parents of autistic children were highly intelligent,

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