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Cumulative Research Paper

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Scarlett Rosenthal and I have been friends for many years. We went to school together back when both of our families lived in downtown Seattle. Scarlett has always been a passionate character both when it came to studies and love. That was not surprising that she got married during our junior year and decided to stop her studies. I never envied her, neither did I disapprove of her decision. She just seemed perfect for the role of happy mother and virtuous wife.

Two years into her marriage Scarlett gave birth to a beautiful baby girl who was surprising all of us with her fast development. However, being maternal to very marrow of her bones, Scarlett did not stop with one child. When her daughter Prudence was two, Scarlett and her husband Peter decided to have another baby. Their son Jeremy was born healthy and joyful as his sister. Feeling that she has not fulfilled her role completely, when Jeremy was five Scarlett had one more child. Timothy was born in January, 2007 via a C-section, this fact did not at all perplex my dear Scarlett because she already had two healthy children and was hopeful the third time around would result in the same.

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Though, it did not. Timothy’s health concerns started when he was ten weeks old. From that time on he would experience lengthy vomiting almost every day and no medical tests could detect what was wrong with him. When Timothy was three years old he started to show strong signs of developmental delay. He did not make any attempts to walk, when his parents indented him to walk his steps were unnaturally hesitant and unsteady. He almost did make any noises, though the words he did pronounce were impossible to understand.

The doctors could not come to the consensus on base of Timothy’s state. Only now, at the age of three Scarlett’s son was diagnosed with autism. Of course, having received such a verdict my poor friend Scarlett was overwhelmed with various questions on this matter. Feeling deep pity and sorrow I decided to assist my friend. I conducted a through research about this illness that I immediately presented to Scarlett.

To begin with I explained her that, although, autism was first discovered in the 1940s it stays mysterious till the present day (National Institutes of Health, 2005). This illness is a brain disorder that is linked with a range of developmental problems. The first symptoms of autism usually appear before the age of three. The scary statistics that I have discovered was that in the USA, three to six of every 1,000 children have autism. What was also very disappointing is that autism occurs “three to four times more often in boys than in girls” (National Institutes of Health, 2005).

The fact that the causes of autism are still unclear was driving Scarlett insane. She wanted to know whether she had caused her baby to be born or adopt this disorder or it was something else. I have assured her that there are physical bases for autism’s development. These bases include genetic, infectious, and other traumatic environmental factors. Scarlett’s pregnancy was going very fine, thus we could not assume that the illness was caused by viral infection during pregnancy. The environment also could not cause the illness because other two kids were healthy and the family was not experiencing troubles. Thus, we came to the conclusion that Timothy was born with autism due to genetic reasons.

Scarlett was very worried about the effect of the illness on Timothy’s siblings. She had the reason to worry because brothers or sisters of a child with autism are seventy five times more likely to develop the illness. However, being guided by common sense we saw that Prudence was already eight and Jeremy was six years old, thus if they had this illness it would have already shown its signs. Scarlett was really relieved to hear that it has been confirmed that “the vaccination does not increase the risk” of autism (Mancair, 2007). As well as it was proved wrong that parental practices could be responsible for autism (National Institutes of Health, 2008).

There are many behaviors that characterized autism. These behaviors range in their impact and level (National Institutes of Health, 2008). Scarlett and I decided to correlate these symptoms with Timothy’s behavior and realized that the answer was “yes” for the most part of the questions. Timothy usually tended to fail to respond to his name and often avoided eye contact even with his mother. Scarlett frequently noticed him being stuck doing the same things over and over again, like rocking or swinging (Filipek, 1999, 439-484).

What was also astonishing is that Timothy would start to aggressively bite and scratch himself and others around at times, that was also a symptom of the illness. Timothy also had a condensed sensitivity to pain. Though, he was oddly sensitive to sound, feel, or other sensory stimulation (National Institutes of Health, 2008). We came to the conclusion that these behaviors contributed to the fact that Timothy did not like to be kissed, cuddled, or hugged (National Institutes of Health, 2008).

It seemed that Timothy was unable to follow directions. He did not react to sound or motion and just seemed deaf when somebody would talk to him (Filipek, 1999, 439-484). Though, what was even more surprising is that Timothy was very attached to particular things and not people (Filipek, 1999, 439-484). Later we found out that such symptoms were typical for children with autism.

Unfortunately, I had to tell Scarlett that children with autism appear to have a higher than normal risk for simultaneous disorders. Such disorders include “fragile X syndrome, tuberous sclerosis, epileptic seizures, Tourette syndrome, learning disabilities, and attention deficit disorder”. With heavy heart I revealed to her that more than twenty percent of children with autism develop epilepsy by the time they grow up (National Institutes of Health, 2008).

Even though Timothy is only a year and a half old Scarlett already began to worry about the issue of schooling. She understood her child was different from all other children, though, she refused to acknowledge that he had to be separated from the world because of his disorder. I told Scarlett that it was too early to decide on schooling now because Timothy was still very young. We could not know what road the illness would take within the next years. I told her that there was an option of her child being homeschooled, or he could be placed into a daycare for children with disabilities. She could also, with the help of doctors and social workers, develop an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) (Health Encyclopedia, 2008). Besides, Scarlett could consider private preschools that accept children with autism, though I suggested that she should not place Timothy to the school where only children with autism are admitted because that could have a negative impact on his development.

Lastly, I presented her with some options for the treatment of this illness. I had to tell her that there was no cure for autism, though there were ways to help diminish the symptoms. She could try behavioral therapies that could help to strengthen sought behaviors, and decrease unwanted behaviors. These therapies are usually based on Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). She could design with the help of doctors and social workers an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) to help guide her child’s school experiences. Of course, she could also try to help her child with medications such as tricyclics, psychoactive/anti-psychotics, stimulants, secretin, and anti-anxiety drugs (Health Encyclopedia, 2008).

Scarlett was stunned. She could not believe that I was giving her this information in regards to her son and not to some common friend or stranger. Nonetheless, I have persuaded her that sometimes, children make progress and stop showing the full set of symptoms of autism when they are older (Common Questions about Autism, 2008). The earlier one starts treating this disorder the better it is. Scarlett has caught it at a very early stage, thus we should hope that the treatments will result in major positive effects (The Independent, 2007). Of course, in addition to that, I told Scarlett to contact the Autism Center in Seattle for more information on this topic.

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