Case study of an Autistic child- Evaluation

Essay by vanikumUniversity, Bachelor's April 2004

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This case is of an 8-year-old boy, Steven. Steven has been diagnosed by a Pediatrician as having an Autistic Spectrum Disorder because of the severity of his needs in terms of communication and reciprocal social interaction. Autism is a pervasive developmental disorder that is very complex and involves a broad different and separate physical and mental disorders. Autistic children are in the private world of their own. It is common beliefs that performance of individuals with autism was inferior when compared to that of normal children. Autism is a psychiatric disorder and it is characterised by : (a) gross social deficits , such as, difficulties in forming and maintaining social relationships and deficits in reciprocating social interaction; (b) a striking impairment in both verbal and nonverbal communication; (c) the presence of repetitive behaviour (O'Riordan, 2001). It is believed to be caused by biological factors due to: neurological symptoms, mental handicap, genetic causes, infections, and also difficulties in pregnancy.

The diagnosis generally requires a team of professionals because of the many unique characteristics and behaviors of the autistic child. However, the psychiatrist and the psychologist are mainly responsible for the diagnosis and the psychological evaluations involved.

Children with autism would show specific deficit on activities that demand the ability to understand hierarchical interrelatedness among classes (Shulman, 1995). However, children with autism do not show marked impairments in sensorimotor categorisation since in young children at this level require a minimal amount of abstract thought (Yirmiya, 1998). Studies (Burack, 1994; Charman, 1997; Yirmiya, 1998; Yirmiya, Sigman, & Zack, 1994) show that at a concrete operations stage of cognitive development differences between children with autism and other individuals occur. Charman (1997) state that impairment in empathy, pretend play, attention and imitation have been linked to the later problems in social understanding and reciprocal social...