Is Autism Good or Bad?

Introduction

Autism refers to a mental disorder that is characterized by impaired social interaction and communication multifaceted by restricted and repetitive behavior. Symptoms of the ailment begin when a child is almost three years old and tend to continue through adulthood but in adulthood it gets muted McKean (1994). It can be identified by manifold of symptoms from impairments in social interaction and communication to restricted interests and repetitive behavior. It is believed that earlier intervention in cognitive and behavioral can significantly aid the affected child gain self care, social and communication skills. Though a few children diagnosed with the ailment live independently after getting into adulthood quite a number of them become so successful in their life. This ailment is neither good nor bad for it has been proved that autistic people have changed the world with their incredible and explained positive talents about them from mathematics to music McKean (1994). Social impairments in autistic individuals are exhibited in the childhood stage. At their tender age, the autistic children will have the tendency of paying less attention to social stimuli, they hardly smile and when it comes to calling them by their names they again respond less. The children who have autism have characteristic social deviance and this can be observed by less eye contact and in addition their communication involves manipulating a person’s hands. Though perceived that autistic children prefer to be alone but on the contrary they interact with other people. However the process of making and maintaining friends often than not becomes hard for autism, actually it is the quality of friendship but not mere numbers of friends that indicate how lonely they feel. Autistic children don’t develop the natural needed speech to allow them to meet their day-to-day communication requirements McKean (1994). The autistic children show communication variations and this can be recognized at an early age for they will have delays in babbling and you will observe their gestures to be unusual, responses to external stimuli would be less and they won’t be able to comprehend what their caregiver asks of them. As they advance in years the autistic children will have a gradual decrease in babbling and their gestures will not rhyme with their talking words. Autistic children, less make requests, hardly share experience and they have the habit of repeating other’s words Williams (1992).

Autistic people exhibit some forms of repetitive and restricted behavior and these are categorized as follows;

  • The stereotype involves aimless movement, like the flapping of hands, rolling of the head, and rocking of the head.
  • The habitual behavior intends to and appears to follow certain rules like arranging objects in a given pattern.
  • Sameness refers to resistance to change, like stressing that a given object should not be moved or refusing interruption from his/her environment.
  • Performance of a given activity the same way each time like a ritual.
  • Limitation of focus and interest on restrictive behavior and this involves a preoccupation with a given program on the television.
  • Self-injury includes movements that can injure the person, like biting oneself.

Genius and Greatness in Autism

Researchers have concluded that autism is linked with intellectual skills. According to the findings on 378 students that emerged from the study of autism in Cambridge University, the condition was up to sevenfold more pronounced among mathematicians than students in the other disciplines McKean (1994). It was again fivefold common in the mathematician siblings. Hence some autistic people are gifted or talented in the fields of arts, music, or mathematics. It can be observed that there is something good that comes from autistic children which their parents can hardly discern. A great personality like Albert Einstein had autistic traits and his place on the autistic spectrum is highly recognized in the autistic community McKean (1994). The question one has to ask about is what would have happened if autism had been identified at the time of his birth? What if his parents had identified the autism symptoms and went ahead to sought intervention? How much of his prowess would have been interfered with? Albert Einstein was a higher functioning autistic, extremely logical and analytical in reasoning but very poor in the social spectrum. Though he was a loner, he was able to interact with people and he thought it necessary to be in solitude in his daily activities. He was quite aloof, spending most of his time on a given problem than any normal person could and these attributes helped to shape his ability of thinking. Hence if Albert Einstein’s autistic state could have been treated he wouldn’t have been with his abilities Williams (1992).

It is has been confirmed that autism is a condition in which people have a high affinity for objects rather than people and this was the case for Einstein whose object of attraction was physics Williams (1992). In as far as the social aspect was concerned, Einstein was always alone and less concerned with people but very dedicated when it comes to science. Otherwise, if he would have been dedicating his time to people then he would have been a quite different person altogether; spending most of his time on a boring job and thinking of social gatherings on weekends.

Normal people rarely recognize the scope of their thoughts and desires which are dictated by this inborn need that defines their social beings but is very evident to autistic people who can be able to see such odd behavior quite easily McKean (1994). The characteristic habit of autistic people of not interacting with other people allows them to concentrate on other activities that are crucial for their talent development. They, therefore, get the same satisfaction in the activities they engage in themselves just like normal people get satisfaction from chatting with their close friendship. Autistic people, who are high functioning tend to be pervasive and think obsessively over an object or a concept and this behavior is described as abnormality by normal people, thinking that they are free from such obsessions. The reality of the day is that normal people also have pervasive interest and that interest in the aspect of being social. Normal people are perverse to interacting with others no matter whether the information is exchanged or not. Hence according to autistic standards, normal people get bored and lonely very fast if they are alone in their thoughts. The normal people are perverse on socializing just like the autistic is on physical and theoretical objects but they don’t see it so. The desire for normal people to be social is so holistically accepted and embedded in such a way that it is not observed as a fixation but is seen as something normal and quite desirable Williams (1992). The normal individuals who like to be in solitude quite often don’t know the extent of their inborn socialization needs. Normal people hold that autistic is defective just because one gets obsessed with objects like music instead of socializing and discussing other issues like weather and football match. The difference between the above is not that being social result to greatness nor does it brings about the formation of new ideas and concepts that improves the lives of humanity. Therefore social behavior does very little in improving the standards of society and this can be observed as the domain of abnormal minds of the highest degree McKean (1994).

The brain of human beings is very complex to comprehend. The brain contains billions of neurons and it is very complex to be explained in detail by DNA. Genetics is the central pivot that gives the general layout of the brain but the environment is the one that makes the most of the actual connections. The infant’s brain is normally not yet developed at birth and the connection that happens depends on the way the neurons are used. Concerning this, the child’s brain will have to adjust according to its environment and this is the genesis of genius McKean (1994).

The genius in Albert Einstein was because of his autistic brain. If the shrewd aspect of Einstein was to be suppressed then as an autistic then he would have been forced to depend on his analytical and logical abilities. The neural pathways for analysis and logic in Einstein were significantly reinforced and this made Einstein’s brain adapt thus doing the above things. Einstein’s poor interaction ability with other fellow humans reinforced the analytical areas of his mental part. The genius in Einstein was part and parcel of his autism Williams (1992).

Conclusion

Autism kind of behaviors can highly be related to great personalities in history and these people have achieved a lot in their discipline making the society to be proud of them for they were to do things which any normal person couldn’t Williams (1992). These great personalities have been successful without treatment. It has been discovered that children with autism can be cured because human beings have been able to discover the development of the mind. This idea is good if the children had ended up as low functioning, self-destructive and non-communicative but it is quite hard to tell the low functioning from high functioning autistics at an early stage when the treatments could be effective. The practice of rectifying autism by reducing sensory difficulties has the resultant impact of interfering with the qualities that bring about genius traits McKean (1994).

The high functioning autistic individuals hardly have mental retardation but the problem with these individuals is that they tend to be so rigid to the aspect of socialization. It is much rational and logical to have greater acceptance for autistic individuals than proceeding to cure or reduction of autism Williams (1992). Though autistics always make closed-minded normal people uncomfortable, their endowment in positive traits can be very useful in innovation and social growth. Instead of focusing our energy in the attempts of curing autistics, we should try finding ways of identifying the autistics that have the likelihood of lower functioning autistics and taming them to be high functioning in their early years thus overcoming the difficulties associated with severe anxiety and sensory dysfunction and to appreciate the autistic people for they are being part of the genotype that includes personalities like Einstein and so many other genius people McKean (1994). The autistic community should therefore be respected for these people have been able to make a great impact on society and the world in general for they are born with talents that a normal human being cannot comprehend. The characteristic nature of autistic people to concentrate on objects and things that give them satisfaction should not be confused to mean that they are not normal for are just like other human beings who love social interaction.

Reference

McKean, T. A. (Edited by R. W. Gilpen). Soon will come the light: A view from inside the autism puzzle. Arlington, TX: Future Education, 1994.

Williams, D. Nobody anywhere: The extraordinary autobiography of an autistic. New York: Times Book, 1992.