HOW WELL CAN AUTISM BE ACCOUNTED FOR IN TERMS OF ONE OR TWO KEY DEFICITS?BBK_SCPS149H7_1617 Development Cognitive NeuroscienceDS1617-05 IntroductionThis assessment highlights on a very common neurodevelopment disorder amongst children known as autism. This disorder was extremely rare and affected few people previously. However, today, every 1 in 100 is diagnosed with autism. Considerable literature and existing research has been evaluated in this assessment to identify the key deficits of autism. Two most vital and primary amongst all deficits are focused upon in this assessment to gain a greater insight. The thesis statement is that autism leads to many deficits, primary amongst them being communication and interaction deficits and developmental deficits. Autism: Autism can be identified to be a severe neurodevelopment disorder that is often characterized by an inability to indulge in nonverbal and verbal communication, impaired social and private interaction and certain restricted and repetitive behavior (Barkley, 2014). The first signs of this disorder are mainly noticed amongst children aged one to two years. However, these symptoms also develop gradually with the growth of the child. The primary cause of autism is recognized to be a combination of environmental and genetic factors (Hayes and Watson, 2013). Certain other cases are also associated with specific infections that strongly harm the fetus during pregnancy. Autism is the primary and most identified form of many pervasive developmental disorder diagnoses (PDD) that usually begins at a very young age and continues throughout one’s life. This disorder impacts upon almost every sphere and aspect of an affected person. Their cognitive and social skills tend to develop at a delayed pace compared to their peers. However, movement skills in autistic people develop at a normal rate like others. There are mainly four kinds of deficits affecting all autistic people. These are physical, social and behavioral, language and communication and developmental deficits. A thorough analysis of such deficits is crucial to identify the intensity and stage of disorder in patients. Such an evaluation also helps in gaining a better insight into the implications and complexities of the disorder. Two most vital deficits are discussed in details in this assessment. Communication and language deficits: Communication and language deficits refer to the inability of people suffering from autism to use gestures and spoken language for interaction, incapability to sustain or initiate conversation and a tendency to use repetitive or inappropriate language (Kapp et al. 2013). Research data shows that almost half of all diagnosed with autism show undeveloped and insufficient capability for natural speech. This severely restricts and harms their daily communication requirements and needs. Children affected with autism show differences in communication from the very first year. This mainly includes unusual gestures, delayed signs of first speech, disproportionate and unsynchronized vocal patterns and diminished responsiveness (Dadds et al. 2014). Due to such incapability, autistic children rarely indulge in sharing experiences or making requests. Rather, they tend to simply repeat words said by others in their company and use reverse pronouns. Such deficits are common for most adults diagnosed with autism too. Studies reveal that joint attention is necessary and vital for functional speech in case of both children and adults suffering from autism. For example, people with this disorder tend to look at the hand pointing to an object rather than the object being pointed at. They too fail to consistently point at relevant objects while sharing an experience or commenting. Considerable medical researchers also showed that children with autism are incapable of indulging in imaginative play or developing symbols with respect to language. Some major specific communication deficits are discussed in brief.1: Sound perception deficit: Both children and adults suffering from autism are unable to effectively and appropriately respond to sound (Abrams et al. 2013). For example, most do not respond to calls. They also cry as a response or reaction to certain sounds or calls instead of responding back. Surveys also show that people with this disorder generally stay completely oblivious and indifferent to loud noises and unusual sounds. This deficit remains the very first symptom of autism that is identified by parents. In certain cases, parents or people in company also misjudge and misinterpret such inabilities to hear sounds and respond back effectively as normal hearing issues leading to erroneous treatment (Giallo et al. 2013).Children suffering from this disorder tend to confuse between sounds of certain speech, mainly hard consonants. For example, most are unable to distinguish between similar sounding words such as cat and bat. Such words sound identical to autistic children. Autistic people also tend to hear only first or last syllables of words making different words sound similar. For example words like triangle and rectangle sound similar to such people. Differentiating and recognizing the various words in a particular sentence is thus a difficult and impossible task for them (Case-Smith et al. 2015). Hence, many are also unable to parse spoken language. Another tendency adversely affecting communication of all children and adults with this disorder is blending words said together in a phrase that ends up meaning nothing.2: Language developmental deficits: Understanding spoken language or words stays a major and primary incapability of all suffering from autism. They fail to understand that all words are related to specific activities of objects. Abstract words simply have no meaning for them as they cannot be related to any tangible object that can be pointed at or inspected. Hence, words without any concrete or visual connection to specific activities or objects are words that are impossible for autistic people to understand. Recognizing sounds and being able to differentiate between various different sounds is a major criterion for being able to talk properly and develop appropriate language skills. The inability of autistic people to process and distinguish between sounds thus stays a major factor interfering with their language development (Silverman and Crawley, 2014). Traditional and conventional methods for both teaching and learning language thus prove inappropriate in case of people suffering with this disorder. Normal children are capable of making associations with various concepts and sounds and they also learn to talk by imitating other mature people around them. However, such is not true for autistic children, for whom, language remains an effortful and intellectual exercise. Hence, nonverbal and verbal aspects of sounds and language must be taught systematically and deliberately to children suffering from autism. Specific nouns should also be taught by physically referring or pointing to things. Visual aspects and pictures thus stand as a vital and crucial factor for the education and learning process of all children with this disorder. Autistic children also use language in very odd ways. Echolalia is a common practice amongst such children, where they increasingly tend to repeat what others say around them over and over again (Aoki et al. 2014). This uncommon verbal behavior is considered to be a vital symptom of autism. In contrast to others, who repeat words or phrases with certain social purposes, autistic children tend to repeat words and phrases without any apparent intention of communication of social interaction.Non Verbal language or facial expressions and body movements and gestures play a vital role in any communication or interaction. However, autistic people face significant difficulties in understanding various nonverbal forms of interaction and communication. They are unable to recognize meanings of specific facial expressions and are also incapable of relating certain facial expressions to specific words. For example, they do not understand that a frown means displeasure and smile indicates pleasure. Autistic children and adults also refrain from using any forms of nonverbal communication themselves. Thus, they mainly have a blank expression or engage in inappropriate expressions at incorrect times within communication. For other children, such facial expressions or nonverbal forms of language are picked up automatically and spontaneously from others around. However, for autistic children, such expressions need to be taught explicitly. These restrictions and inabilities show the amount and range of problems or deficits faced by people suffering from autism during communication or interaction. Developmental deficits: Autism as a severe neurodevelopment disorder leads to serious developmental illnesses that are evident from the very initial stages. Such illnesses cause profound and significant deficits that adversely affect ability of people to appreciate various social aspects of their life. Due to varied empathy, language and sensory deficits, most people suffering from autism are unable to develop normally and in a spontaneous manner (Faras et al. 2017). This in turn leads to severe communicative, social and developmental deficits.Considerable emphasis has been laid on various developmental disorders or deficits restricting people with autism to function effectively and appropriately in various social conditions. Research data shows that unusual and improper development is apparent and evident from the very beginning. Infants are seen to be less attentive to certain social stimuli, they hardly respond to calls and restrict eye contact with others around. Social norms of autistic children also differs significantly as they show an inability to express themselves effectively, point to things for reference and engage in turn taking. They are also less likely to approach people around them spontaneously, exhibit certain social understandings, respond to others’ emotions and imitate them and communicate through nonverbal forms of communication. Children with autism suffer from less attachment security. Loneliness is also a major aspect harming autistic children as well as adults as maintaining or even making friendships remain a vital challenge for them. Certain specific developmental illnesses or deficits associated with all autistic patients are discussed in brief.1: Issues with figurative speech: People with autism experience an eternal difficulty in handling and navigating through vital and significant social situations. They tend to engage in communication less. However, even for the limited amount of interaction with others around, they face varied issues and limitations as their use of language lacks finesses and is stunted. Their language development process is extremely intellectual unlike the normal process that relies on nonverbal interactions and various social contexts. Thus, autistic people are mainly very literal in the way they understand or use language, which stands as a major contrast to the normal or figurative manner. This disorder also restricts people from starting effective conversations, participating easily in conversations or indulging in small talk. Irony, sarcasm and other forms of interaction where a particular phrase or word means the exact opposite or something different to what was said is almost impossible for autistic people to comprehend and understand. Identifying and understanding specific clues and hints used while conversing also stays a major challenge for people suffering from autism as they are unable to derive the meaning or indication of such nonverbal forms of interaction. Autistic people also tend to understand idioms and figurative language literally rather than understanding their inner meaning or intention (Margari et al. 2017). Thus, these aspects and factors stand as major barriers restricting people with this disorder to effectively and efficiently engage in interaction and communication with others. Their inability to realize or grasp true meaning of words and phrases as well as certain nonverbal indicators restrict them from understanding others as well as taking part effectively in the conversation. This stands as a major developmental deficit harming the social life of most affected with this disorder.2: Scripted and stilted conversation: The differing and intellectual method of language learning restricts autistic people to talk and converse more spontaneously. They tend to communicate artificially which is also considered to be quite pedantic or scripted. They also generally engage in monotones and speak in a monotonous manner with little animation or voice modulation. Such a conversation almost sounds like TV talk where social cues or gestures from the audience are oblivious to the speaker. Such communication methods have little utility and effectiveness as most people despise talks that sound more like lectures. Hence, autistic people generally fail to prove beneficial or effective while giving speeches and engaging in conversations with others. Others around also tend to disapprove and dislike such uninteresting speeches that in turn severely harms the self confidence and credence of people suffering from autism. Thus, the social life of people affected with this disorder is severely hampered as their inability to engage in normal and conventional forms of interaction makes others around despise or dislike their company. Hence, developmental deficits adversely affect people with autism and increasingly segregate them from others in the society based on their incapability. 3: Social isolation: General inabilities of both children and adults suffering from autism make them highly isolated in society as people are impatient and detest their company. This isolation compels them to become encapsulated within their private and own mental worlds, where they remain thoroughly unaware of the surroundings. This tendency to isolate oneself from the rest of the world makes people with such disorders more susceptible to mental imbalances due to the realization that people around them dislike their presence or company. It also poses serious threats for certain cases where communication deficits are intense and profound. These people have very few resources or means for appreciating their existence. Such situations result in their resistance towards communicating or interacting with people who come forward to talk to them. Even on specific occasions when they do take part in conversations, they generally avoid direct eye contacts with others and fixate their view on specific objects. In most cases, they also require many prompts and inducements to respond when called.For more severe cases of autism, isolation remains a critical and acute problem as people with this disorder detest coming out or using language at all for communication (Jeste, 2017). This in turn reduces their ability to interact and makes them even more mentally unstable. They do not respond at all and often throw tantrums when forced to talk or communicate with others. Such aspects often compel people with autism to become more aggressive that is harmful and injurious for others as well as for themselves. Continuous and vigor supervision and institutionalization is vital and necessary for such severe autistic cases. Thus, such developmental deficits affect people with autism in profound and fundamental ways and make their life increasingly difficult and undesirable. Effective communication is almost impossible to them due to such deficits. Thus, their place in society is segregated and differentiated from others clearly marking and highlighting their incapability and crises. Such developmental deficits also deprive and restrict people with autism to socialize, interact and communicate freely with others in the society.ConclusionThis assessment focuses light on the various deficits associated with autism that makes the life of affected people grave and significantly undesirable. The incapability and ineffectiveness compels people with this disorder to lead an isolated life and stand at a very different position than the rest of the people in society. 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