From the community

Hard times can hit autistic children

Posted Jan. 28, 2013, at 4:55 p.m.

It is estimated that up to three million americans struggle with autism, a disorder that affects the brain’s development through social and communication skills. Even though the population is increasing, not everything is known about autism, but more and more facts about autism continue to be well known. Roughly forty six million people worldwide have autism.

Researchers do not know what causes autism, but what is known is that people at the end of the autism spectrum tend to live normal lives just like typical people. However, people who have more significant autism, especially at the beginning or middle of the spectrum rely on life long institutional care, end up isolated living with parents, or unable to hold a career, and can end up on disability insurance.

Autism has a very broad spectrum ranging from a child that remains nonverbal for their whole life, up to brilliant engineers, scientists, and computer technicians. Some require more assistance with social skills, and independent living.

There are many spectrum disorders in the category autism. At the beginning of the spectrum is a disability called childhood disintegrative disorder. Childhood disintegrative disorder is a disability in which an infant makes babbling noises, and says clear words. But before the infant is two years ago, they completely stop speaking, and making eye contact. Most children with childhood disintegrative disorder never regain their speech, but a minority of them do. But their speech will be abnormal, and they will most likely be unable to function in normal life situations.

Another disorder is Kanner’s disorder which involves impaired speech, impaired social skills, and poor motor skills. A child who suffers from Kanner’s will have weak muscles, and not being able to ride a bike, and difficulties with physical activity.

There is also a disorder called Rett’s syndrome which is a type of autism where there’s all the symptoms, but also more significant sensory problems, such as sensitivities to loud noises.

At the very end of the spectrum, there is Asperger’s syndrome, and high-functioning autism which are both very similar. People with Asperger’s have normal speech development, but their lack of social skills is quite significant. Also, people who have Asperger’s syndrome tend to have sloppy handwriting, as well as mild motor issues, but not significantly bad like someone with Kanner’s. Many people with Asperger’s are unable to play sports because of their social abilities, and motor skills.

High-functioning autism is the same term as Asperger’s. However people wih high-functioning autism have speech delay, and people with Asperger’s have normal speech development. Also, people with Asperger’s want to fit in, but are unable to relate to other people, while a person with high-functioning autism can’t in such ways. But these disorder are very similar, and some people say they’re both exactly the same.

But no matter where children are placed on the autism spectrum, everyone with it still struggles with life skills way more than typical people. People on the spectrum should get as much support as possible, and deserve to be treated the same as everyone else, from their teachers, close friends, and family members who love them.

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