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Definition Of Autism Essay

1874 words - 8 pages

Define and Describe Autism from a Clinical Standpoint.Autism is a disorder of perplexing nature that enivitably has impairments that last into adulthood for the afflicted and lifelong implications for their families. (`Asgeirsd`ottir et al, 2006, p.1361) Autism is not only difficult to understand clinically and behaviorally in relation to the person with the disability but also diagnostically, in terms of inconsistency of classification. This paper intends to investigate the history of autism, explain the currently accepted clinical definition and description of the disorder and the recognized related condition along the autism spectrum disorder or ASD, Asperger's disorder, and finally to ...view middle of the document...

She reviews folktales of young men who are of an innocent nature and misinterpret advice given to them by literally comprehending it. One example given is from a traditional Malta story about a boy named Gahan. As the story goes, Gahan was late getting up on a Sunday morning and was not able to accompany his mother to church. Before she left she reminded Gahan to "pull the door behind [him]". Gahan understood this statement literally, not figuratively. Poor Gahan subsequently then pulled the entire door by the door handle all the distance to church to meet his mother and the congregation, aghast at his action. (p.8)Though there are possible historical accounts, autism was not thoroughly conceptualized until Leo Kanner and then a year later, Hans Asperger published their initial papers. In 1943, Leo Kanner offered clinical insight in his published work of 11 children who shared common threads of behavior. These attributes support the development of his concept of "early infantile autism". (Fitzgerald and Lyons, 2007, p.2022) Included here are the features of his findings through his research:extreme autisitc aloneness, anxiously obsessive desire for the preservation of sameness, excellant rote memory, delayed echolalia, oversensitivity to stimuli, limitation on the variety of spontaneous activity, good cognitive potentialities, and highly intelligent families. (Happe, 1999, pp.9-10)A year later, Hans Asperger unaware of Kanner's work published a dissertation concerning autism. Amazingly, the two clinicians individually, came up with the term "autistic". (Happe, 1999, p.10) Originally, the word came from Eugen Bleuler who coined the term to describe the social extraction in adults with schizophrenia. Both Kanner and Asperger also believed that the nature of this affliction was inborn. They both noted finding the children not flexible with changes, socially detached, having strange idiosyncratic interests, and generally highly enjoyed routines. (Happe, 1999, p.11)In 1979, Wing and Gould (Dodd, 2005) suggest there was a way to explain autism in a more broad and social fashion. They named this framework the "triad of impairments". (p.2) They claim there are three areas of deficits as documented by their research; the impairment of social interaction, of social communication, and of social imagination. Later, they introduced a broader term of "autistic spectrum" (p.2) which is meant to represent a linking or continuum of autism that serves to describe mild to severe cases including Asperger's disorder. This shift signifies a progressive move in the direction of the currently accepted definition of autism, also known as ASD. The spectrum construct includes cases today that would not have met Leo Kanner's criteria.Autism now, has the basis to form the clinical diagnostic criteria used by the American Psychiatric Association in the DSM-IV (1994) and the World Health Organization in the ICD-10 (1992) to aid medical practioners in the diagnosis process...

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