The growing awareness regarding Autism has brought about various efforts to identify and offer assistance in helping those who are afflicted with the various spectrums of this disorder. It is a completely normal reaction for parents of children who are struggling this to focus on the future. What will happen as their child grows older? How will they live? Where will they live? And, how close to "normal" will they be able to function? Many answers to those types of questions can be directed to things that are happening today, in the present (more on that later).
People are finally realizing that the focus must be on today, rather than the future in these situations.
- It was a parent, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Ron Suskind, that came to the realization that his son (previously diagnosed as autistic) had that barrier broken down. This came to happen when the child who had hidden behind a wall of silence for years, suddenly began speaking and communicating through the animated characters from children's films.
- A hypothesis has been developed by a group of MIT neuroscientists that suggests this disorder may be connected to "an impaired ability to predict events and other people’s actions." The idea behind this recommends targeting a therapy of predictive skills instead of other types of manifestation. This was developed after many parents of children with autistic disorder reported that their children demanded a controlled and predictable environment. The need for sameness was identified as one of the most uniform characteristics of autism.
- It has been proven that all individuals - even those without autistic disorder - who experience anxiety created by unpredictability, can be soothed with repetitive behavior and rigid structure. When it comes to prediction, such as estimating the outcome of events like the path of a flying ball or another person's behavior, autistic children do not have that type of computational ability.
- Autistic children have difficulty understanding the feelings, motivations and thoughts of another person. Going back to the focus on the present - these individuals interpret behavior and actions based on what is happening within that exact moment. However, the hypothesis predicts that some cognitive skills, based on the rules of prediction such as math, music and drawing are typical strengths of autistic children.
Breaking through the barriers of this disorder and dealing with all of these theories and aspects is addressed brilliantly in the NBC drama called "Parenthood". This show allows people to see the reality behind autism. Just as was discovered by Mr. Suskind, the author, a parent spending time with the autistic child every day can help discover how to break through that barrier. There is so much that can be done to help these individuals through the focused treatment and programs to address the actual issues.
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