Autism is a disorder common in children and makes them unable to behave, communicate and hence socialize effectively. Such children usually have difficulties looking in the eyes of a person speaking to them.
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They repeat sentences to calm themselves and flap their hands when they are happy or injure themselves with objects when they are angry.
Many of them, if not enrolled in any intervention program might never acquire the skill of communication through talking. If there is any remedy for the condition, the results are mild and victims usually live with the problem for the rest of their lives.
Some autism researchers describe autistic people as not having a self and not being able to reason about the minds of others and acknowledge that other people have desires, beliefs and intentions separate and different from theirs (Theory of Mind).
These researchers argue that autists do not have mental capability to understand states of mind like desires, beliefs, intention and hope. This mental retardness is brought about by mental disorders in early childhood which hinder normal development of communication skills.
Researchers have not been able to discover the exact cause of this condition but it is assumed that it comes as a result of abnormal chemical and biological interactions in the brain during the period of development of children in their mothers’ womb.
Research has also shown that autistic parents are more likely to have babies with autism and that identical twins are more likely to develop the problem than fraternal twins. This leads us to conclude that the disorder is genetically passed from parents to children (Baranek 405).
Other causes like changes in the digestive system, diet, sensitivity to vaccines and inability of the body to utilize minerals and vitamins properly is also suspected to lead to autism although this has not been confirmed.
There are those researchers who claim that children with autism are able to reason about the mind of others. The argument is that every child or adult are engineered uniquely.
They say that, autism like any other human disorder can be treated or children with the disorder can be taught to live a normal life with the condition. Like many curative measures to disorders, treatment cannot guarantee total healing.
When they are trained properly, they can reason and adapt effectively to the surrounding. Intervention measures include behavioral training and/or medicine.
Among the two intervention measures however, behavioral methods are the most recommended by experts because they equip the patient with live survival skills which enables them to interpret feelings of other people by evaluating body movements, facial expressions and tone of the voice.
Patients who come out of the treatment process heal totally and can even be employed in adulthood (Mash 203).
Alternatively the child could be enrolled in an intensive training program where he/she learns closely with parents and other members of the family. A team of professionals are also involved in the program because they guide the training.
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The parents however play a bigger role in the program because they lead the training sessions. Behavioral program could take place at home, school or at a specialized center.
Other researchers have taken a totally different perspective to autism. They allege that they collected evidence to prove that indeed autists reason about mind of other people but have difficulties in communicating to other people what they are thinking.
They allege that like in all living things, growth and development varies in children. Even at maturity not all people can be able to put to use their mental capability to the maximum. Children with autism are therefore able to reason and even interpret the feelings of other people but the challenge is to communicate the response to other people.
They further say that this difficult varies even among autism children. Flapping of their arms, repeating sentences or hurting oneself with objects is away of releasing the frustration of inability to respond to other people’s feelings (Matson 71).
On the same note, researchers have also said that some children grow to mature out of autism. This maturity comes in later stages of development and if the person as a child was not enrolled in any training program they might not be mentally equivalent to their age mates who are normal.
Critics on the other hand have argued that children with autism can not be treated and neither can they reason about the mind of others.
They allege that the disorder attacks children in their earliest stage of development and the effects on the victims are irreversible. They argue that cases of children growing out of autism are false and can only be explained as a misdiagnosis.
They dismiss positive results of training and treatment as a misconception and some people dishonestly use them for marketing.
In conclusion, only proper and comprehensive research can approve or disapprove autism researchers who describe autistic people as not having a self and not being able to reason about the minds of others and acknowledge that other people have desires, beliefs and intentions separate and different from theirs.
What exists currently is still disputed and requires extra empirical data to back it up.
Baranek, Gilbert. “Efficacy of sensory and motor interventions in children with autism.” Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 32.5(2002): 397–422. Print.
Mash, Barkley. Child Psychopathology, New York: The Guilford Press.2003. Print.
Matson, Sturmey. “International Handbook of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders.” New York: Springer 25.7 (2011): 53–74. Print.