Autism Books for Parents
It is widely reported that autistic children, as defined by Kanner in the 1940's, were at first perceived as victims of an affective disorder brought on by their emotionally cold, very intellectual, and compulsive parents. The personality traits of these parents, it was theorized, encouraged such children to withdraw from social contact with them, and then with all other people. In the years that have followed, additional data as well as conceptual changes in medicine and psychology have led to the belief that autism, which may actually be a constellation of disorders that exhibit similar symptoms, has a biological basis that may reside in subtle brain and hormone abnormalities. These concepts have been investigated and are leading to definitive changes in the therapy used to treat individual autistic children. Although no general treatment or unifying concept of autism has developed, promising leads include modalities that utilize drugs which alter levels of serotonin and other...
A similar proposal can be made for the autistic syndrome in children. The autistic syndrome is a severe and chronic developmental disorder characterized by social and communicative deficits and by a reduced interest in the environment, towards which restricted and often stereotyped initiatives are taken 75 . To be an autistic child means, with variable degrees of severity, to be incapable of establishing meaningful social communications and bonds, to establish visual contact with the world of others, to share attention with the others, and to be incapable of imitating others' behavior or of understanding others' intentions, emotions and sensations. I would like to briefly focus on some of the early symptoms. Towards the end of the first year of life, autistic children experience difficulties or even impossibility in orientating themselves on the basis of cues provided by others. They are incapable of sharing attention with others, incapable of reacting in a congruent fashion to...
The extensive data from experiments on mirror neurons of the frontal and parietal cortices of the monkey allow the hypothesis that this primary sensorimotor configurational system may be innate, respond to specific stimuli and constitute a neurological function that is indispensable to the survival of the individual and the species. In this context, the recent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) observations 44 that autistic children lack activity of the mirror neurons in the anterior frontal gyrus (pars opercularis) are extremely interesting. Activity in this area was inversely correlated with the severity of the autistic symptoms, suggesting that dysfunction of the mirror neurons is responsible for the relational deficit observed in autism. This does, however, raise a problem that will not be easy to resolve is it a defective system of mirror neurons, present since birth for genetic reasons, that causes the autistic syndrome, or is it a traumatic environmental disorder,...
Developmental disabilities include conditions that are present prior to adulthood and are associated with intellectual, social, or physical impairments that continue into adulthood, such as autism and mental retardation. Because the issue of the dual diagnosis of mental illness and developmental disabilities is not covered thoroughly elsewhere in the book, an introduction to this special issue is presented next.
The Administration on Developmental Disabilities of the United States Department of Health and Human Services estimates that there are four million Americans with developmental disabilities. Data specific to the incidence and prevalence of developmental disabilities are difficult to obtain because of the various etiologies present in this population. Conditions which often fall under the umbrella of developmental disabilities include mental retardation, autism, epilepsy, spinal cord injury, sensory impairment, traumatic brain injury, and cerebral palsy. Though developmental disabilities can be associated with neurological damage, many of the conditions resulting in a developmental disability do not result in lowered intellectual functioning. Persons with developmental disabilities are estimated to comprise 1.7 to 1.8 percent of the population. This percentage has risen markedly since the mid-1970's for two reasons increased life span for older individuals with disabilities and a...
MMR vaccine is administered as a single 0.5 ml dose at 12-15 months of age, with a booster given at 3-5 years of age in the United Kingdom and during infancy and preschool in other industrialised countries. The safety of these vaccines should not be questioned, as the causal relationship between MMR and autism and Crohn disease remains unproven.
This novel behavior has been found to generalize to new situations, beyond the situation in which the learning originally occurred. Learned variability has been demonstrated in dolphins, rats, pigeons, and humans, including children with autism. Learning to be creative and to try new approaches has important implications for many aspects of daily life and problem solving.
AVP has prominent roles in controlling fluid balance via its effects on the kidney and regulating blood pressure via its vasoconstrictive effects on blood vessels, and can directly promote the sensation of thirst. AVP also promotes the release of ACTH from the anterior pituitary in the presence of CRF, and is released following stressful stimuli 116 . In humans, oxytocin is predominantly involved in controlling smooth muscle contraction during both breast-feeding and parturition (myometrium). In rodents, oxytocin promotes a number of reproductive (grooming, arousal, lordosis, orgasm, nesting, birthing) and maternal behaviours. Although there are marked species differences in the effects of oxytocin, central infusion of this peptide in females of a monogamous prairie vole species promotes lifelong pair bonding in the absence of mating. Furthermore, pair bonding in this species, which normally accompanies mating, can be blocked by oxytocin antagonists, thus implying a key role for...
The estimate of national medical care cost associated with preterm birth is conservative, in the sense that it includes the costs associated with all premature infants only through the first 5 years of life. The costs beyond age 5 years, as demonstrated by these cost estimates for the four developmental disabilities associated with preterm birth, are quite substantial. Although these conditions associated with preterm birth are among the most disabling, there are several others, including autism and certain birth defects (Rasmussen et al., 2001). Furthermore, the medical care cost estimates for even these four developmental disabilities are conservative, because long-term care provided for the small subset of the population who required institutionalized settings and therapy and rehabilitation services provided for adults were not included.
Autism Autism involves disturbance of reciprocal social interaction, disturbance of communication, including expressive and receptive language, and extreme behavioural restriction 2 , Although autism is frequently associated with mental retardation 3 , a more specific pattern of cognitive deficit was proposed by Hermelin and O'Connor 4 , characterized by difficulty in perceiving order and meaning in events 5 . Broadly consistent with this are observations which have demonstrated that autism is a frontal lobe disturbance with involvement of the amygdala 6, 7 , neuropsychological evidence of impaired executive function 8, 9 , and the proposal that autistic children lack a theory of mind'', i.e. ability to understand the thinking of others from the social context 10 .
Major Issues And Directions For Future Research Toward A Clinical Neuropsychology Of Prospective Memory
Include other brain diseases (e.g., Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis), psychiatric disorders (e.g., schizophrenia, depression), substance abuse (e.g., alcohol, cannabis, MDMA), viral infections (e.g., HIV and Herpes Simplex Encephalitis), and developmental disorders (e.g., ADHD, autism). The patient groups were chosen in these studies mainly because they were reported to have prospective memory problems or because their pathology is related to brain areas that are supposed to be related to prospective memory. Most of these studies compared the performance of clinical groups and matched controls on one or more types of prospective memory (e.g., time-, event-, or activity-based) using tasks developed in the experimental literature. Typically, the results of these studies indicate that these patients tend to be impaired on one or more types of prospective memory (refer to Table 13.1).
Overview There is currently little research on prospective memory in childhood and adolescence, and even fewer studies have investigated whether the development of prospective memory skills is negatively affected by psychopa-thologies such as autism or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). In individuals with autism (Ozonoff & Jensen, 1999 Ozonoff & McEvoy, 1994 Prior & Hoffmann, 1990 Rumsey & Hamburger, 1988) and in those with ADHD (Willcutt, Doyle, Nigg, Faraone, & Pennington, 2005) executive dysfunctions are well documented. Hence, given the assumed involvement of executive functions in prospective memory, it was expected that children with autism or ADHD would be impaired in carrying out intended actions. Autism Only one study has so far investigated processes related to prospective memory in autistic patients. Similar to the findings on ADHD, Mackinlay, Charman, and Karmiloff-Smith (2006) reported impaired prospective memory performance in children with...
Secretin is also a neuropeptide regulating tyrosine hydroxylase activity in PC 12 cells and in sympathetic ganglia 39 . It activates also adenylate cyclase in striatal neurons from embryonic mouse brain grown in cultures 40 . Its effect on adult rat brain occurs however at high concentrations only 41 . Recently, case reports of dramatic improvements of children suffering from autism were reported after secretin administration 42 . However, a recent double-blind study concluded that a single dose of human secretin was not an effective treatment for autism 43 . The use of more stable analogs with a facilitated penetration into the brain should be evaluated. 42. Horvath, K., Stefanatos, G., Sokolski, K.N., Wachtel, R., Nabors, L., and Tildon, J.T. (1998) Improved social and language skills after secretin administration in patients with autistic spectrum disorders, J. Assoc. Acad. Minor. Phys. 9, 9-15. 43. Sandler, A.D., Sutton, K.A., DeWeese, J., Girardi, M.A., Sheppard, V., and Bodfish,...
Applied behavior analysis is the field of application that has arisen out of Skinner's behavioral principles. Applied behavior analysis was introduced first in educational settings. Applications in education have occurred at every level from preschool to university classrooms. Equally important has been repeated successful application to learners with autism, severe and profound delays in behavioral development, and attention deficit disorder, with and without hyperactive behavior. The application of behavioral principles has been shown to be effective across behaviors, settings, individuals, and teachers.
Skinner's analysis of how to design sequences of steps for teaching came to him as he was finishing a book on which he had worked, on and off, for 20 years. He eventually named the book Verbal Behavior. Published in 1957, it was an analysis of why people speak, write, and think the way they do. It took another 20 years before researchers used Skinner's categories and found that the different controlling variables he postulated were, indeed, independent. His work in this area has contributed significantly to establishing methods of teaching children, especially those with autism, to communicate effectively.
In contrast, marked age effects were obtained in the same study with several retrospective items, such as how to remember an event from a previous Christmas or how to memorize a categorical list of nine pictures. For example, in relation to the Christmas question, 5-year-olds could hardly understand the task, whereas 7- and 9-year-olds said they would solicit help from adults. Only 11-year-olds produced more varied strategies, but even with this age group there was plenty of scope for further improvement. This contrasting pattern of findings concerning prospective and retrospective items was subsequently replicated in several other studies using similar questions (e.g., Cavanaugh & Borkowski, 1980 Kurtz & Borkowski, 1984 see also Farrant, Boucher, & Blades, 1999, for using the prospective questions in children with autism).
The point is that these two mechanisms are not mutually exclusive. Embodied simulation is experience-based, while the second mechanism is a cognitive description of an external state of affairs. Embodied simulation is the scaffold for the propositional, more cognitively sophisticated mind-reading abilities. When the first of these mechanisms is not present or is malfunctioning, as perhaps in schizophrenia and autism (see the next two sections below), the second one can provide only a pale, detached account of the social experiences of others. It is an empirical issue to determine how much of social cognition-language included-can be explained by embodied simulation and its neural underpinnings.
Simpson. Interventions for Children and Youth with Autism Prudent Choices in a World of Exaggerated Claims and Empty Promises. Part I Intervention and Treatment Option Review. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities 13 (1998) 194-211. Covers the specific interventions from the psychodynamic, biological, and behavioral categories and gives an overview of the research support for each. Kaye, James A., Maria del Mar Melero-Montes, and Hershel Jick. Mumps, Measles, and Rubella Vaccine and the Incidence of Autism Recorded by General Practitioners A Time-Trend Analysis. British MedicalJournal322 (2001) 460-463. Describes evidence refuting the hypothesis that the MMR vaccination causes autism. Lonsdale, Derrick, and Raymond J. Shamberger. A Clinical Study of Se-cretin in Autism and Pervasive Developmental Delay. Journal of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine 10 (2000) 271-280. Describes an experiment to measure the effectiveness of secretin...
The term developmental disability encompasses a number of conditions including cognitive disabilities (i.e., mental retardation), autism, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, brain injury, and spina bifida. A developmental disability is a severe, disabling condition that arises in infancy or childhood, persists indefinitely, and causes serious problems in language, learning, mobility, and the capacity for independent living (New Jersey Developmental Disabilities Council, 1997 1998, p. 1).
Theory of mind has a developmental trajectory. A baby as young as 9 months old will point to an object when it intends for mother to look at it, and will look where mother points, because the baby recognizes what its mother intends 59 . When very young children read another's mind it is very egocentric 55, 56 . If a child wants to go out for a walk, when you put on your tennis shoes, the child will assume you want to go out for a walk. Not until the child is about 5-6 years old do they recognize that others may have mental agendas that differ from their own. All forms of psychoanalytic therapy rest on the maturation of this capacity. Some individuals completely lack theory of mind ability, most notably people who suffer from autism or Asperger's syndrome. It is proposed that patients with borderline personality disorder have impairments of theory of mind, which underlie their difficulty in affect regulation and in interpersonal relationships 60 .
The evidence examining the relationship between low birthweight or preterm birth and autism is mixed. While some studies suggest a positive association (Finegan and Quarrington, 1979 Hultman et al., 2002 Indredavik et al., 2004 Larsson et al., 2005 Wilkerson et al., 2002), other studies have concluded that there is not an increased risk of autism in children born low birthweight or preterm (Deykin and McMahon, 1980 Mason-Brothers et al., 1990 Piven et al., 1993 Williams et al., 2003). One study suggests that perinatal and obstetric factors might interact to impact birth outcomes (Eaton et al., 2001).
This system is also greatly influenced by endogenous opioids-as also by oxytocin and prolactin, whose role in facilitating mothering is well known. As an aside, in some autistic children the opioid system is hyperactive, and this might be related to their reduced need for affective exchange.
The modern term autism was originated by Leo Kanner in the 1940's. In Autistic Disturbances of Affective Contact (1943), he described a group of autistic children he viewed them as much more similar to one another than to schizophrenics, with whom they generally had been associated. Until that time, the classical definition for autism (still seen in some dictionaries) was a form of childhood schizophrenia characterized by acting out and withdrawal from reality. Kanner believed that these children represented an entirely different clinical psychiatric disorder. He noted four main symptoms associated with the disease social withdrawal or extreme autistic alone-ness either muteness or failure to use spoken language to convey meaning to others an obsessive desire for maintenance of sameness and preoccupation with highly repetitive play habits, producing severe limitation of spontaneous activity. Kanner also noted that autism unlike other types of childhood psychoses began in or near...
Descriptive research is nearly self-explanatory it occurs when the researcher wants merely to characterize the behaviors of an individual or, more likely, a group. For example, one might want to survey the students of a high school to ascertain the level of alcohol use (alcohol use might be described in terms of average ounces consumed per student per week). One might also spend considerable time observing individuals suffering from, for example, infantile autism. A thorough description of their typical behaviors could be useful for someone investigating the cause of this disorder. Descriptive research can be extremely valuable, but it is not useful when researchers want to investigate the relationship between two or more variables (things that vary, or quantities that may have different values).
There are a multitude of etiologies for developmental disabilities. The cause can be prenatal, perinatal, or postnatal. Risk factors for developmental disabilities can be biological, environmental, or a combination of both. Genetics plays a role in conditions such as Tay-Sachs disease and other inborn errors of metabolism, Klinefelter's syndrome, Fragile X syndrome, and Down syndrome, that typically lead to developmental disability. Genetic causes may be chromosomal abnormalities, single gene defects, or multifactorial disorders. For example, autism appears to have a genetic component that interacts with developmental factors.
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Understanding And Treating Autism
Whenever a doctor informs the parents that their child is suffering with Autism, the first & foremost question that is thrown over him is - How did it happen? How did my child get this disease? Well, there is no definite answer to what are the exact causes of Autism.