Autism is a pervasive development disorder
An incurable disorder which delays the development of social interaction and communication skills.
§ poor language skills
§ avoided of eye contact
§ lack of facial expressions
§ lack of joint attention
Impaired social interaction
§ doesn’t engage in physical contact
§ difficulty in forming relationships with others
§ doesn’t like sharing things with others
§ repetitive/routined behaviours
§ difficulty in imagining things that haven’t occurred
Where infants (9-15 months) start to share a reaction with another person, the child is interested in the object as well as another person’s interest in the object.
Autistic children have a lack of joint attention, resulting in impaired communication, impaired social interaction and impaired imagination.
Sigman et al
Aim- To investigate joint attention.
Method- Three groups of children were tested, clinically normal children, children with down’s syndrome and autistic children.
Children were observed in a playroom in the presence of their mothers. Different behaviours were recorded, such as showing or pointing at objects, staying close to the mother and looking and vocalising.
Results- The autistic children showed fewer instances of joint attention than the other groups of children.
Conclusion- Children with autism do not generally demonstrate behaviours involving joint attention
Biological explanation for autism
Neurological correlates explanation states that there is a correlation between abnormalities in the brain and symptoms of autism.
Responsible for planning of behaviours, control or behaviours and making judgments.
§ If damaged, could explain why autistic children have a preference for routine as their ability to plan is absent.
Responsible for memory aswell as emotional responses, language and speech production.
§ If damaged, could explain autistic savants aswell as communication problems.
Responsible for motor control and co-ordination.
§ If damaged, could explain poor motor co-ordination aswell as head banging.
Studying the brain of an autistic individual after their death.
§ It’s unclear whether the abnormality’s in the brain are because of autism (head banging) or whether the abnormality’s cause autism.
PET-Glucose is injected into a person’s arm and carried by the blood to the brain. If a part of the brain is active, there will be a high blood flow to that area.
§ This method involves injecting radiation so quite dangerous when used on children.
MRI- This method uses magnetic fields and radio waves to produce a 3D image of the brain.
§ No radiation or injections.
Genetic explanation for autism
The genetic explanation for autism suggests that autism can be carried through our genes.
Research has shown that there is a
§ 0.6% chance of someone having a child with autism.
§ 3-6% chance of someone having a second child with autism.
§ MZ twins have a 96% concordance.
§ DZ twins have a 50&…