Essay by kimmin83University, Bachelor'sA, September 2004

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People with autism have been productive members of society when given the opportunity. The restrictions and limitations placed upon autistic individuals have created skeptics and negative stereotypes. Although, not every high functioning autistic person grows up to be a genius or an extraordinarily gifted individual, but several have surpassed the limiting expectations when given the opportunity. Albert Einstein, Sir Isaac Newton, and Leonardo Da Vinci, to name a few, have broken barriers and placed themselves in history as remarkable individuals.

Autistic children ordinarily are unable to use language meaningfully, showing impaired non-verbal and verbal communication, including abnormal speech patterns or loss of speech. About half of all autistic children are mute, and those with speech frequently only mechanically repeat what they have heard. Behaviors such as repeating body movements, unusual responses to the world around them and insistence of following strict routines are common. In some cases, individuals may display aggressive or self- injurious behavior.

No one individual with autism will display all of its possible characteristics. Instead, each individual may demonstrate a unique combination of symptoms. Symptoms vary from individual to individual and can range from mild to severe. Symptoms in some autistic children improve as they mature. Moreover, some people, usually those on the least severe spectrum, eventually may lead normal or near normal lives. For others however, there is little improvement in language or social skills and the adolescent years can mean a worsening of behavior problems. Although there is no cure for autism, many therapies and interventions aimed at remedying specific symptoms have been developed. The best- studied therapies include educational-behavioral and medical interventions. Educational-behavioral interventions include strategies that emphasize highly structured and intensive skill training, tailored to the child. Therapists work to help autistic children learn most effectively and rapidly when very young,