Understanding The Diagnosis, Treatment, And Development Of Autism In Children

2954 words - 12 pages

Introduction/ Statement of Area
Psychology is a vast field with several areas to focus on or specialize in as one grows and develops throughout his or her psychological career. One of the most popular fields of psychology is clinical psychology. Clinical psychology is the branch of psychology concerned with the assessment and treatment of mental illness, abnormal behavior, and psychiatric problems. This field integrates the science of psychology with the treatment of complex human problems, making it an exciting career choice for people who are looking for a challenging and rewarding field. Within this field, there are many specializations, and those who achieve their Ph. D (Doctor of ...view middle of the document...

Because of the constant progression, it is imperative that society maintains an awareness of these new discoveries. One disorder that has existed for years, but recently its awareness is rapidly growing, is autism. Autismspeaks.org defines autism as a disorder in brain development that ultimately affects its victims’ everyday social interaction. A more detailed definition was given by Gillian Baird, Hilary Coss, and Vicky Slonims (2003) in their article, “Diagnosis of Autism”:
“Autism is a behaviorally defined disorder, characterized by qualitative impairments in social communication, social interaction, and social imagination, with a restricted range of interests and often stereotyped repetitive behaviors and mannerism (p 489)”
Signs of autism are usually shown in early childhood and are recognized if parents are aware of these signs. If a parent notices these signs, he or she should immediately take the child to a psychologist or psychiatrist for diagnosis and treatment. How fast a parent acts in this situation has a large impact on the remainder of the child’s development.

Signs and Diagnosis of Autism
Many symptoms have been linked to autism, and they are most prominent in three areas: behavior, social skills, and speech. A child’s caretakers can observe symptoms in these areas to help in the child’s diagnosis. Parents lack the professional training that behaviorists have, so they will typically only be able to recognize high-frequency behaviors (Zwaigenbaum et. al, 2008). Children with autism tend to act out more than others in school or daycare, and that could serve as a sign of autism. This behavior makes it difficult to teach the child or to allow the child to be around his or her peers. A study done by Patti LaVesser and Christine Berg (2011) set out to examine the participation patterns in children who were previously diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder versus those children who had not been diagnosed. The Preschool Activity Card Sort was used in this study. It was revealed by the parents that those children with autism spectrum disorder did participate less in preschool activities that dealt with “self-care, community mobility, vigorous leisure, sedentary leisure, social interaction, chores, and education than children with no diagnosis.”
The age of diagnosis for autism varies for each individual, but signs and symptoms are being shown at a much younger age, and there has been a consistent decline in the ages of children diagnosed. However, many of these symptoms coincide with other childhood neuropsychiatric disorders (Liu, King, & Bearman, 2010). There are several ways to identify autism in young children. Two of the most commonly used assessments to measure autism in early childhood is the M-CHAT and BISCUIT- Part I. The first of the assessments is the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT), and the second assessment is the Baby and Infant Screen for Children with aUtism Traits Part I (BISCUIT- Part...

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