Abnormal Child Psychology

Having analyzed the symptoms described in the case study, it is possible to determine the diagnosis of autism. Signs of autism fall into three main categories: a qualitative impairment of social interaction, a qualitative impairment in communication, restricted and stereotyped patterns of behavior (Cipani, 2011). Michael has symptoms from each of these categories. The following signs and characteristics have led to this conclusion.

First of all, Michael has a qualitative impairment of social interaction: he does not react to his mother’s words and cannot follow her instructions, he does not interact with other people by waving hello and goodbye and the boy does not show interest in other children while playing with a group of other kids of the same age. According to Volkmar and Weisner (2009) one of the first signs which worries parents of autistic children is the fact that their kids do not enjoy communicating and playing with them and other people.

The second evidence is a qualitative impairment in communication: Michael suffers from the delay in speech development; he does not use words to explain what he needs only sometimes he repeats modeled words. According to Cipani (2011), children with autism use mostly nonverbal behaviors to request what they want and instead of answering a question they may simply repeat it. Some of such children do not use vocal language at all, others only repeat specific words. Michael certainly belongs to the second category as he does not use vocal language for communication, but he is able to imitate words uttered by other people.

The third group of symptoms is connected with restricted and stereotyped patterns of behavior. Volkmar and Weisner (2009) point out that children suffering from autism are usually less interested in typical toys. Often when they choose some objects to play with they may simply carry them around or put somewhere, then repeat the same actions. Such children may show “catastrophic” reactions to the environment, such as crying for a very long time, getting aggressive. Michael demonstrates similar behavior by lining up items in the same pattern and order. His “catastrophic” reactions appear when his toys are taken away and when he gets into an intense tantrum.

However, Cipani (2011) claims that with early diagnosis and appropriate treatment, life of children diagnosed with autism may be significantly improved. Their social, intellectual and verbal skills may be vastly developed. Though autism cannot be completely cured ( Holllister & Spritz). The intervention plan, to be as effective as possible, has to include all child’s environments and take into account the child’s individual needs.

First of all educational interventions should be applied. Applied behavior analysis (ABA) and early intensive behavioral intervention are among the most popular. They help teach a child certain behaviors which they need in everyday life. For example, ABA may be applied in Michael’s case. It is based on teaching behaviors one-to-one, so that the child then may use these patterns independently. The system consists of stimulus, …
Posted by: Constance Turrell

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