Autism and Asperger syndrome 1. 1. Autism According to Ami Klin, autism is the condition there is marked and sustained impairment in social interaction, deviance in communication, and restricted or stereotyped patterns of behaviors and interests. This means that the person, suffering from autism syndrome has a big difficulty in social and communicative skill development and later, using the knowledge of those skills. Also, the author of this article notices the restricted interests of a person.
Leo Kanner also noted unusual responses to the environment, which included stereotyped motor mannerisms, resistance to change or insistence on sameness, as well as unusual aspects of the child’s communication skills such as pronoun reversal and tendency to echo language. During 1950’s, the reason of autism was very unclear. The scientists had a belief that the etiology of autism was the lack of emotional response of parents towards their children. However, this belief has no longer right. In 1960’s the numerous researches began started bringing up the real evidence of autism.
It is the brain disorder, which caused the people to act in a certain way. This disorder was proven to be present from infancy. The social, material, cultural status of the person had nothing to do with the disorder. In 1978, Michael Rutter suggested his own definition of autism. He based his definition on 4 criteria: 1) social delay and deviance not just a function of mental retardation; 2) communication problems, again, not just a function of associated mental retardation; 3) unusual behaviors, such as stereotyped movements and mannerisms; and 4) onset before age 30 months.
The delay of the social development can be understood by the absence of will to participate in communication with other people, especially peers. Autistic people have a little understanding of social interaction. It is caused by the social deviance. The social interaction seems like a complete mess to people suffering from autism. What may seem very natural to other people may be the most difficult problem to solve for autistic people. Due to absence of natural social development, people with autism syndrome, need to put extra effort in order to be able to understand social situations.
In this case, the only solution is to take special lessons in order to gain basic social understanding and skills and be able to take part in social interaction. Social deviance may be understood as the absence of idea what is going on around an autistic person. It can also be understood as chaotic understanding of social situation. The people with autism do not understand the order of things which are happening in the communicative situation. What is more, autism makes it difficult for a person to understand context, body language and emotions of other people.
Autistic people need to put a lot of their effort in order to understand someone’s body language, however, for some it may seem impossible due to the total absence of fundamental understanding or disturbance of outer environment. Facial expressions, position of the body, eye contact and arm movement may not take place while communicating with autistic person. This may lead to unnatural body position (turning away from the addressee), absence of body movement when it supposed to come natural, and, misunderstanding of cues, emotions and intonations of what has been said.
The result of misunderstanding the intonation might lead to understanding of what has been said in a direct way. In some cases, the autistic person may learn to understand the basic skills of body language; however, they can be fully dependent on the environment. “When I am stressed, my sensory system processes sounds too loud. It means that if I am in a room where there is a radio mic, I can hear the whistling while the volume of others sounds are not modulated either, so it can be distracting and hard work paying attention. ” states Robyn Steward, a person with autism.
The distraction of the environment is what may confuse autistic people. The restriction of interests and stereotyped movement is another criterion of Rutter’s definition. This means that people suffering from autism has limited and very narrow interests. For example, the person may be only interested by physics and all the other spheres of science or even free time activities would be absolutely uninteresting to them. As a result, this aspect affects the ability to interact. It would be difficult to participate in a conversation with various subjects or with quickly changing topics.
The stereotyped movement and way of understanding is the marker of constantly repeating actions, which represent the presence of the certain disorder of a person. Finally, Rutter mentions the onset of autism. It is always before three years. Parents are typically concerned between the ages of 12 and 18 months as language fails to develop. Although parents may be concerned that the child does not hear (because of lack of response to verbal approaches), they also typically note that the child may respond quite dramatically to sounds in the inanimate environment (e. . , a vacuum cleaner, candy being unwrapped); occasionally parents report in retrospect that the child was “too good”, made few demands and had little interest in social interaction. This is in stark contrast to typically developing infants for whom the human voice and face and social interaction are among the most interesting and salient features of the world. Occasionally parents report that the child seemed to develop some language, and then speech either plateaud or was lost; such a history is reported in about 20 to 25% of cases. 1 Almost always parents report being worried by age 2 and inevitably by age 3. With greater awareness of autism and its early signs (e. g. , lack of eye contact, pointing, giving, or showing behaviors, or shared social joy), an increasing number of parents have concerns toward the end of the first year of life. Clearly, this sensitivity to delays and deviance in social development is heightened in families where an older sibling has already been diagnosed with autism.
Occasionally, for very high functioning children with autism, parents may be less concerned in the first year or two of life, particularly if speech and language are emerging, but even in these cases parents become concerned before the age of 3 as the severe deficits in social interaction become more apparent in situations other than in immediate contact with parents (e. g. , in public places, in interaction with same age peers or relatives). 1. 2 Asperger syndrome Asperger syndrome (AS) is characterized by impairments in social interaction and restricted interests and behaviors as seen in autism, but its early developmental course is marked by a lack of any clinically significant delay in spoken or receptive language, cognitive development, self-help skills, and curiosity about the environment. All-absorbing and intense circumscribed interests and one-sided verbosity as well motor clumsiness are typical of the condition, but are not required for diagnosis. ” Ami Klin “Autism and Asperger syndrome: an overview”.
The definition provided by Klin states that Asperger syndrome is different from autism in lack of delay in development, self-help skills and interest about the environment. The diagnosis in the early age might be absent due to the need of it. The interests of a person with Asperger syndrome will become narrow and unusual only after they will gain the ability to get the material from certain sources, for example documentary or particular books. The interests will become even more unusual and specific with the age. This seems to be the problem about Asperger syndrome.
A “normal” child in his early age will be having problems socializing with people later. The early diagnosis might ease the forced learning of social aspects such as body language. As well as autism, Asperger syndrome contains restricted interest of a person. The curiosity about the environment provokes the restriction of the interests. In addition, the understanding of low curiosity may be presented by the isolation of the person with Asperger syndrome from the society. These people would rather stay at home, rather than going out and socialize. People with Asperger syndrome are not avoiding conversation with other people.
The problem is that the way of doing that is often very awkward and inappropriate. The reason for that are their restricted interests. These people tend to use their knowledge in very narrow, specific and unusual topics as the conversation subject. Others participants of the conversation simply cannot follow or support this kind of communication. The author also says that they are willing to have friendships, but cannot maintain it due to their awkward behavior and intensively towards emotions of other people. The concept of emotion is very difficult for them to understand.
Moreover, people suffering from Asperger syndrome may not have significant problems in development of speech. Although, other problems with speech may appear: poor prosody, the manner and tempo of speech, adjustment to social environment. The speech of a person with Asperger syndrome may have problems with intonation; however the speech will not be as monotonous as person’s with autism. The cause of this is the misunderstanding of intonation register which is based on the emotions in a particular situation. For example, the sarcastic phrase from a person with Asperger syndrome will sound exactly the same as other phrases.
On contrary, the person will take every phrase addressed to him directly. The tempo and manner of speech takes part in social misunderstanding as well. For a healthy person, someone with Asperger syndrome may sound too fast or too slow. He may also speak in a jerky way. Finally, the failure to adjust to social environment may strengthen the awkwardness of the conversation in a great way. For instance, if the conversation is happening in the hospital or library, the person with Asperger syndrome will not be speaking in a quiet way.
His speech will be in the same volume as it used to be. Also, failure to understand the registers of speech can bring clumsiness to the conversation, for example, in intimate situation, the person will be using very formal style of communication. To sum up, the autism and Asperger syndrome brings difficulty in socialization. Person, suffering from these syndromes, may likely feel isolated, closed and awkward. The result of these feelings forces these people to stay in their comfort zone in a young age. Overcoming the fears is not guaranteed with age.
It is likely the decision made by the person himself. I have to mention that the ability to earn and live by their own is not restricted by these disorders. The person, suffering from these disorders, can be very intellectual, due to good logical thinking. They are able to get good jobs and take care of themselves; however, the jobs will be very specific, due to the restricted interests. The ability of having a family is questionable. The disorders in socializing may be overcome by getting the social knowledge in particular curses, books or other learning sources.