Autism and Early Detection
Autism was originally believed to be a rare neurological disorder. The word
“autism” is used to describe many neurodevelopmental disorders with in the “autistic spectrum” such as: Asperger’s Syndrome, Pervasive Developmental disorder, Heller’s Syndrome, Rett’s Disorder, and Classic Autistic Disorder. There is no single cause for it, just as there is not just one single definition of these disorders. Not only are the disorders of the “autism spectrum” not solely neurological they are not rare either. There has been a drastic increase of diagnosis in the past 10 years. Early researchers believed that less than half of the children with some type of autism would develop any significant level of speech or social skills necessary for a productive and self-sufficient life. Now it is known that with early intervention and treatment a majority of children with autism are capable of becoming self-sufficient adults and possibly even obtaining marriage and children.
In some cases if untreated, the child may regress, need harsh medication and possibly need to be institutionalized. In reaction to this information, the American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended that all infants should be screened at their regular 18 and 24 month checkups regardless of whether warning signs are present or not.
The first diagnosis of autism was in 1908 when Eugen Blueler used the word “autistic” to describe his schizophrenic patients who were self-absorbed and screened off.
Later, “In 1944, Hans Asperger…wrote about a group of children he called autistic psychopaths…. the children talked like little grown-ups. In addition he mentioned their motor activity which was more clumsy and different from normal children.”(Jonsson) This was one year after “Leo Kanner described a group of 11 children with the following common traits: impairments in social interaction, anguish for changes, good memory, belated echolalia, over sensitivity to certain stimuli...