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Autism and Mental Retardation Essay

Respond to the following:

1. List the primary features of autism.

Children with autism are unresponsive to others, uncommunicative, repetitive, and rigid their symptoms usually appear before the age of three. An autistic individual will have difficulty sustaining employment, accomplishing household responsibilities, and leading independent lives. Furthermore, they express having problems displaying closeness and empathy and have limited interests and activities. The characteristics seem to be pronounced as indifferent in physical care and affectionate expressive interest in those who are taking care of them. Verbal communication and language impairments and inability to use speech are often primary features of autism. Some autistic individuals may exhibit Echolalia a echoing of phrases used without apparent understanding. Some may even repeat sentences a week later, this is called delayed echolalia. Their variation of speech difficulties include; paranormal reversal, difficulty in naming objects, lack of verbal understanding and use of suitable tone in their voice while talking.

Some noticeable characteristics that often expose autism are their lack of imagination while playing, rigid, abnormal and repetitive behaviors, failure to accept environmental change and obsession with animate things and inanimate things. They express repetitive and unusual motor movements like flapping their hands, and odd facial expressions. Below is a checklist the DSM has provided for a guideline to diagnosis of autism. 1. A total of at least six items from the following groups of symptoms: A. Impairment in social interaction, as manifested by at least two of the following: (a) Marked impairment in the use of multiple nonverbal behaviors such as eye-to-eye gaze, facial expression, body postures, and gestures to regulate social interaction. (b) Failure to develop peer relationships appropriately.

(c) Lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interests, or achievements with other people. (d) Lack of social or emotional reciprocity.

B. Impairment in communication, as manifested by at least one of the following: (a) Delay in or total lack of, the development of spoken language. (b) In individuals with adequate speech, marked impairment in the ability to start or sustain a conversation with others. (c) Stereotyped and repetitive use of language, or idiosyncratic language. (d) Lack of varied, spontaneous make-believe play or social imitative play. C. Restricted repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests, and activities, as manifested by at least one of the following: (a) Abnormal preoccupation with one or more stereotyped and restricted patterns of interest. (b) Inflexible adherence to specific nonfunctional routines or rituals. (c) Stereotyped and repetitive motor mannerisms (e.g., hand or finger flapping or twisting). (d) Persistent preoccupation with parts of objects.

2. Prior to 3 years of age, delay or abnormal functioning in either social interaction, language, or symbolic or imaginative play. 2. Which explanation for autism is no longer considered valid and lacks research support? The sociocultural model lacks support and the theory suggests that autism could progress through particular personality characteristics of the parents. These characteristics generated unfavorable development and contributed to the development of the disorder. This theory is no longer considered.

3. What forms of treatment are helpful for a person with autism?

The treatment that is helpful for a person with autism is behavioral therapy, communication training, parent training, and community integration. Psychotropic drugs and certain vitamins have at times aided when joined with other approaches. Behavioral therapies consist of therapist using modeling and operant conditioning. In modeling they exhibit a chosen behavior and direct the individual to reproduce it. In operant conditioning, they reinforce such behaviors, first by shaping them, breaking them down so they can be learned step by step and then rewarding each step visibly and consistently. These measures often create more purposeful behaviors and long term achievements. Communication Training is a therapy that is often taught to those individuals who remain speechless. They are taught other forms of communication, including sign language and simultaneous communication, a method combining sign language and speech.

They also learn to use augmentative communication systems, such as communication boards or computers that use pictures, symbols, or written words to represent objects or needs. In some programs teachers try to recognize essential underlined forcers rather than insignificant ones like food or candy. They encourage participation in choosing an item they want and then encouraging them to ask for it with questions like; what’s that? Where is it? And whose is it? The studies have found that child- directed interventions increase self-initiated communications, language development, and social participation. Parenting training programs train parents so they can apply behavioral techniques at home. They are provided with instruction manuals, and teachers do home visits.

Individual therapy and support groups help parents of autistic children deal with their own emotions and needs. Community integration is a great tool for autistic individuals, In today’s school and home based programs there are programs for autism children to teach self-help, self-management, and living, social, and work skills as early as possible to help children function better in their communities. There have been many workshops and group homes available now for teenagers and young adults with autism to help them become a part of their communities. These types of programs give parents a since of relief as their child will always need supervision.

4. List the criteria for a diagnosis of mental retardation:

The DSM-IV-TR gives guidelines to the diagnosis of mental retardation. Individuals need to display general intellectual functioning that is well below average, in combination with poor adaptive behavior. As well as having a low IQ score of 70 or below. There should be notable difficulty in communication, home living, self-direction, work or safety. These symptoms should appear before the age of 18.

5. Explain one way in which sociocultural biases in testing might pose problems for assessing mental retardation.

Sociocultural biased in testing that might pose a problem for assessing mental retardation is IQ testing. IQ testing in some children has caused them to be labeled retarded when they had trouble speaking the language at a level that would establish their IQ. 6. Of the four levels of mental retardation, into which category do most people with mental retardation fall? Mild level – IQ ranges from 50 – 70. “They are sometimes called “educably retarded” because they can benefit from schooling and can support themselves as adults” (Cromer, 2011). 7. What are the main types of biological causes of mental retardation? The main types of biological causes of mental retardation are Down syndrome, fetal alcohol syndrome, and fragile X syndrome. 8. What is the only way to prevent fetal alcohol syndrome? The only way to prevent fetal alcohol syndrome is to not drink during pregnancy. 9. What are normalization and mainstreaming?

Normalization and mainstreaming are educational terms; they reference the settlement of mentally retarded individuals within ordered classrooms. This is to make sure these individuals can intermingle and learn along with typical fellow students. The school systems have made adjustments and adaptations to their core curriculum and the teaching given to the mentally retarded child. 10. What is your opinion about mainstreaming and normalization for children and adults with autism or mental retardation? I agree with mainstreaming for a person who is suffering from autism or mental retardation. Autism runs in my family, and I have a cousin who is the same as age as I am and she did not receive mainstreaming when she was younger and she is severely handicapped I believe because of this. On the other hand, our classrooms are overcrowded and teachers are experiencing challenges within the so called “normal” population.

Labeling these individuals at such an early age incorporates stereotyping within the classroom and can cause even more hardship for those individuals. My ex-husband’s brother had an autistic child who is thriving and even attending college classes at a University. He did have special schooling and went to private therapies. His success was through behavioral therapy and parenting training. I would say mainstreaming should be considered on the level of the disorder. If the disorder is extreme, then consideration should be given to the teacher and her other thirty something students. It is a hard question when in fact someone could be mildly retarded or highly retarded and the school system really needs to know just where the individual stands with their language ability and social ability.

Comer, R. J. (2011). Fundamentals of abnormal psychology (6th ed.). New York, NY.

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