What is Autism?

Essay by Reign25College, UndergraduateB+, November 2009

download word file, 7 pages 0.0

Several years ago my step-son was diagnosed as an Autistic child. Through the years he has shown signs of being autistic: covering his ears at loud noises, repeating the same question over and over, staring off in space as if he were not in the room with you, slow process time when you ask him a question or ask him to do something. In my mind though, Autism is not just about these outward signs that he had the tendency to show. It was more than that. I found myself questioning his diagnosis more and more each day. I wondered how his doctor concluded that he had Autism, where Autism came from, when it was found, and how it would affect my step-son's life. I started to see the same tendencies he had; in me, especially as stress became a bigger issue. I would forget things and repeat questions, cover my ears for a sound that normally would not faze me.

I even found myself staring at a wall lost in thoughts, worry, really. Due to the common tendencies between my step-son and I, I set out to find out exactly what this Autism was.

Autism was first identified in 1943 by Dr. Leo Kanner of Johns Hopkins Hospital. Autism is a complex neurobiological disorder which is an illness of the nervous system caused by genetic, metabolic, or other biological factors. Autism is part of a group of disorders known as autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Today, 1 in 150 individuals is diagnosed with autism, making it more common than pediatric cancer, diabetes, and AIDS combined. It occurs in all racial, ethnic, and social groups and is four times more likely to strike boys than girls; no one knows why at this time, autism occurs in more often in boys versus...