Psychology of Learning
November 11th, 2013
Abstract There are many disorders that are found in today's society, but one of the most serious of those disorders is autism. Autism is found to be a developmental disability and not a mental illness. It usually appears during the first three years of a child’s life. Autism is known to be one of the most mental, emotional, and behavior disorders that plays a big role in someone’s life. With studies being done there is no exact reason why autism occurs, but researches have came across abnormalities in the structure and function of the brain. Children and adolescents with autism found to have a harder time interacting normally with other people. Every child with autism is found to be different because there is no particular autism type. Children with autism usually have deficiencies in both verbal and non-verbal communications. Autism affects many aspects of daily life tasks development. Language knowledge may develop very slowly and cause a lack of social skills. Some children may contain short attention span and lack imagination. Currently there is no proper cure for autism, but there are many different treatments available. Autism overall plays a major role in learning and development in one child’s life.
Autism is "a syndrome of childhood characterized by a lack of social relationship, a lack of communication abilities, persistent compulsive, rituals, and resistance to change" (Cohen 1987). Throughout many centuries different medical professionals have tried to understand autism and find cure to treat it. Autism was first found in the sixteenth century, but during that time it was not identified as autism. During the time of 1943 Leo Kanner, who was a child psychiatrist, used the term autism. He used this term to describe abnormal symptoms that a young child may contain. At first Kanner believed that children probably contain a "unique form of schizophrenia" (Hamblin 1971), but later on he was able to determine that some of the characteristics of schizophrenia and autism were not found to be similar. Kanner preformed a study on a young boy named Donald. He described that Donald “had a mania for spinning toys, liked to shake his head from side to side and spin himself around in circles, and he had temper tantrums when his routine was disrupted” (Fischbach 2007). When Kanner and Donald first met, Kanner was able to discover that Donald spoke in third person, constantly repeated words and phrases and expressed his own personal desires by attributing them to others. After performing studies Kanner was able to identify autism as a distinct neurological condition. At first he named the syndrome Early Infantile Autism. The symptoms usually appeared during the first three years of life a child’s life. He observed a small group of children that came from very educated backgrounds. Due to small selectiveness, Kanner made an incorrect assumption in his study. He indicated that autism is more likely to develop in children that had a white parent and middle or upper class background. Later on studies did prove Kenner’s’ assumption wrong. Kanner was able to open new doors for an intensive study of a confusing syndrome and clearly define what autism may be. During the first stages of infancy, autistic babies are found to behave normally. In most cases the first signs are indicated by the age of three. During the age period before the child turns three, the child usually experiences regression. In current studies there is no exact determination on when the signs start to appear. When parents are asked to think back in time before the age of three years old, some parents are unable to pinpoint exactly what the difference in behavior was. Infants usually respond and smile to faces, actions and to voices of adults; but an autistic infant usually is only found to respond to sounds and sights that