Taking A Look At Autism Spectrum Disorders

Submitted By eobrien015
Words: 1781
Pages: 8

A mother and her son are walking along in the park together. The son goes and plays in the jungle gym. Where will he go next? Onto the slide? Jump onto the monkey bars? Go and swing on the swings? Or perhaps he will do all three. When making these inferences, a person is attempting to read the child’s mind. Most of us engage in such mind reading all the time. Without it, we would be “mind blind,” unaware of other people’s mental existence, existence of thoughts, emotion, intentions, knowledge, and memories (Baron-Cohen, 1997, para. 2).
“Mind blind” is another name for a cognitive disorder mostly common in people with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Autism starts early in childhood, within the first three years of a person’s life. Children and adults who suffer from Autism are unable to read a person’s mind to guess what their next move is going to be; although they lack this, there are treatments that can help strengthen and better a person. Researchers with advanced mind-reading tests have demonstrated that high-functioning adults with ASD should not be underestimated since they may have good, and in some cases very good, mind-reading skills (Roeyers, 2010, p. 123).
Parents of a child with Autism are faced with the Why’s, What’s, Where’s and How’s of the diagnosis. Why did my child change? What can we do to help him or her? Where do we go to find out more information? How did this happen?
Most parents tell of a child who is healthy and vibrant and who interacts and hits his/her milestones. Then, in an instant, their world is turned upside down. Their child no longer looks them in the eye or will answer to his/her name. This is a life changing diagnosis that affects every member of that child’s family.
This paper will present research on how mind reading is impaired in high-functioning children and adults with Autism, and experiments that have been performed to prove that a person should not be underestimated by the theory of mind.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism are both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction and in verbal and nonverbal communication, and repetitive behaviors. They include autistic disorder, Rett syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), and Asperger syndrome. ASD can be associated with intellectual disability, difficulties in motor coordination, and attention and physical health issues, such as sleep and gastrointestinal disturbances. Some persons with ASD, however, excel in visual skills, music, math and art. When Autism was first discovered, scientists could not figure out what the cause of it was. But they have discovered over the last five years that it is caused by rare forms of gene changes, and that mothers can reduce the chances of having a child with Autism by taking prenatal vitamins. There are some who feel vaccinations, in particular the Measles/Mumps/Rubella (MMR) vaccination are the trigger for Autism. The age at which most children are diagnosed can coincide with the age when a child would receive the MMR vaccination. There is also the belief that with the number of children being diagnosed rising each year, toxicity in the environment could be a viable cause (Autism Speaks Inc, 2012).
Mind reading is the ability that a person has to make inferences about what another person is going to do, or try to figure out how they are really feeling. Mind-reading deficits in ASD appear to occur early in lifetime, with joint attention deficits as he precursors, and seem to be universal (Roeyers, 2010, p. 123). Whenever we experience a basic emotion, the muscles of the face automatically express it. The response may linger for just a fraction of a second or be detectable only if electrical sensors are attached to the face. But it