A case study of an infant with Autism.
According to center of disease control and prevention, statistics have shown that development disability has been on the constant rise in the recent years. Victims who fall under this category are most vulnerable to mental disorders and are in dire need of special attention for the purpose of adapting to the complexities of this modern world. Their ability to get a proper education, a proper lifestyle and social skills are constantly under threat and will significantly affect them. Family members, relatives and friends have a role to play, to give them hope, help them feel accepted, treasured and loved despite their predicaments. Development disability is a medical condition that results to physical or mental disabilities with substantial effects on their functioning.
After a normal pregnancy and delivery, Mr. & Mrs. Renorld gave birth to a bouncing baby boy with no complications recorded. At first, Mitch was seen to be in blooming health. He could stay awake for long at the comfort of his cot and you could hardly notice his presence. Mitch seemed not to be puzzled or scared by all the relatives and friends who came to visit him. Occasionally, he would seem not to be bothered by the presence of his parents. This felt a bit odd to his parents but they were delighted simply because they did not have to take turns trying to lure him into sleep. He never was a problem to them. At the age of two, Mitch could independently walk and Mr. and Mrs. Renorld decided to host a birthday party for their son. To their surprise, Mitch never seemed to be occupied or amused by the large number of neighbors and relatives who turned up to celebrate him. He acted oblivious of all the activities that were taking place at their home and he would walk past the audience and went over on his daily routine, playing with his toys and would not even care of the delicacies in place of his honor. He seemed to be so much into himself and would care less of the company of others. Mr. & Mrs. Renorld were worried about such strange behaviors and at first thought that Mitch would grow up to ignore them and his friends. To even great lengths, they could call Mitch who would not even blink back as a sign of responding.
To find out if this was a medical condition or simply behavioral, they decided to visit a pediatrician who ruled against any medical conditions and reassured them that all will soon be right. Mitch continuously became even more dependent to his toys and less concerned about anyone in the vicinity, spending an inordinate time making a palatial outlay of all his toys and on each day, he would perfectly make similar arrangements on his toys. His situation took a different turn, Mitch would self-inflict injuries on his body and would not even wail about it as the way a normal kid would do. His parents got even more worried and despite the reassurances from the pediatrician, they decided to visit a specialist who diagnosed Mitch with autism. He assured them, despite this development disorder, his intellectual abilities were normal and should not worry much about how this condition will impair his ability to develop intellectually.
Autism spectrum disorder is a development disorder associated with neurological disorders affecting communication skills of an individual and his development towards social interactions. As much as the parents would try to teach Mitch some basic linguistic gestures, he would not even speak back to them and only made some strange sounds without saying a word. Mrs. Renorld agonized at his condition and she would instead guess the need of her child just in case Mitch failed to indicate what he wanted. The specialist advised them to take Mitch to a special daycare where he would receive special therapy that would help him speak.
With this help, Mitch began to speak complete sentence though in a strange manner. He could repeat every word his parents uttered instead of giving an answer whenever he was questioned. Though with progress in his speech therapy, other interesting habits come along. Mitch became highly fascinated on the sound of their car engine. He would get exceptionally happy whenever he heard the car engine roar and the turbines belch. He would always get up in time to watch his father start the car engine, marvel about it as he jumped with vigor. Furthermore, he was so amused by running water and he would occasionally sneak in the bathroom, turn the water taps on and off. Mitch would get wild and would throw tantrums whenever anyone tried to stop him from his daily routine. His days out were always an ordeal, He would grab other people’s belongings without even fussing about it. He had the audacity to do that even to grow up men. At one point, he snatched a bottled drink from a lady in the streets while at the company of his parents, without even blinking. His parents found this embarrassing but Mitch seemed not to be carried away by this.
At the age of five, Mitch had no problem getting to and from school using the St. Patrick’s school bus. He would get in and sit in one particular chair and would talk to no-one. In school, Mitch had difficulties in learning but took great pleasure in drawing. He at one time surprised his teacher by drawing a car engine in a mathematics class and would not even listen to anything his teacher said in class. His teacher would ask him to stop drawing but he would fold the paper and stuff it in his back pocket but some few moments later, he would fish it out, unfold it and go on with his drawings. He was so lost in his own world.
Whenever his teacher gave out a class activity, Mitch would show no interest and would only give a positive response to activities directed to him in person. He seemed to get into action only when personal attention was directed to him. Mitch was unable to make friends at school since he lacked the social skills. Most of the time, he would be seen to delight in his drawings and would care less about the activities around him.
In school, Mitch would get very emotional and turn violent whenever he got bothered by other children who tried to forcefully infringe his privacy. He would get pale, his eyes popped out, his fore veins pressing hard on his forehead, shake involuntarily and destroy anything at his disposal. With these conditions, the teachers had to be keen on him, giving him the necessary special attention to help him perform and exist peacefully with other children. Despite such behaviors, Mitch had no other form of medical complication above it, except the constant medication prescribed by the school doctor to help him cool down, slow down his heart rate after turning violent.
At the age of 8, his parents decided to take him to a special school for children with autism where they thought special care and attention would be directed to him as they hoped to see him recover. Fortunately, while at school, he was seen to experience progressive developments as he would socialize though not entirely with other kids. His obsession in drawing was natured into a hobby as his tutors helped him capitalize in it. He would make simple conversations and give appropriate responses. He would gladly read some simple writings and books and would even take time to listen to his teachers.
It is important to understand that a classroom setup with a supportive environment is essential in supporting children with autism. This classroom setting creates an atmosphere of social interactions that can help such students learn how to appreciate the existence of others and recognize them. The society should also learn to appreciate the range of other abilities in such victims and help them mobilize their abilities into strengths. In addition, much research should be done on other non-verbal ways of communication that students of autism use to help understand their thought process.
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