Children With Autism

Read the reading then answer the question:

Autism is the most serious of a family of disorders known as an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Individuals with ASD acquire language later than usual, their speech often echoes what others say to them, they sometimes become intensely interested in objects (e.g., making the same actions with a toy repeatedly), they often seem uninterested in other people, and, when they do interact, those exchanges are often awkward. Symptoms usually emerge by 18–24 months of age.

Roughly 1 out of every 200-300 U.S. children is diagnosed with ASD; about 80% of them are boys (Landa et al., 2013; Mash & Wolfe, 2010). ASD is heritable, and many studies point to atypical brain functioning, perhaps due to abnormal levels of neurotransmitters (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, 2009).

Children with ASD grasp false beliefs slowly, which leads some researchers to conclude that the absence of a theory of mind sometimes called “mindblindness” (Baron-Cohen, 2005) is the defining characteristic of ASD (Tager-Flusberg, 2007). Other scientists aren’t convinced. One idea emphasizes a focused processing style that is common in ASD. For example, children with ASD find hidden objects faster than typically developing children do (Chen et al., 2012).

But this emphasis on perceptual details usually comes at the expense of maintaining a coherent overall picture. Consequently, in social interactions, children with ASD may focus on one facet of another person’s behaviour (e.g., gestures) but ignore other verbal and nonverbal cues (e.g., speech, facial expressions, and body language) that collectively promote fluid interactions.

Research to evaluate these claims is still ongoing; it’s likely that the answers will indicate that multiple factors contribute to ASD. ASD can’t be cured? However, therapy can be used to improve language and social skills in children with autism. In addition, medication can be used to reduce some of the symptoms, such as repetitive behaviour (Leekam, Prior, & Uljarevic, 2011).

When ASD is diagnosed early and autistic children grow up in supportive, responsive environments and receive appropriate treatments, they can lead satisfying and productive lives.

question 1: Briefly discuss points that would support and refute the idea that an absence or underdevelopment of theory of mind underlies the symptoms of autism spectrum disorder.

Question 2: List five distinctly different symptoms of autism spectrum disorder.

question 3: Shawn and Deandre have a daughter who, at 3 years of age, has been diagnosed with a moderate form of autism spectrum disorder. From the information presented in your textbook, what would be the best treatment approaches for this little girl? What symptoms or skills would be most effectively addressed with these interventions?

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