growth and evelopment observation analysys paper of a 13 years old autistic child
Growth and Development Analysis of 13-years-old Autistic Child
Currently, autism in the international psychiatric classification is regarded as a special type of impaired mental development, manifested throughout a persons life and requiring constant support of specialists. Evidence has been found that the majority of adults with autism continue to need constant special care. However, experience shows that even in the most difficult cases with some support such people can be successfully socialized in terms of their family or a specially organized family home.
Autism causes the difficulties in participation in the process of communicating with others and coping with different social situations. Along with this, a tendency to stereotype repetitive actions, as well as the complexity in terms of emotional control is observed in children diagnosed with autism. A child with autism is not easy to treat at any age, but the teenage years are especially difficult period (Baron-Cohen, & Bolton, 1993). At the age of 13, a child only enters the teenage period, but the majority of difficulties appear exactly at this time.
Jamie, a13-year-old boy suffering from autism is experiencing these complicated changes. The boy lives with his mother in the suburbs. His family has good material standing, and his mothers job allows her to spend time with Jamie 24 hours a day. On the advice of experts, at the age of three Jamie held constant and intensive therapy; sometimes 3-4 therapists worked with him simultaneously up to 60 hours per week. Approaches were constantly changing, when the next method provided the desired result.
Teenage years are a period of maximum active communication for all individuals. This is the time when children learn and grow very fast (Schopler, 1983). It is the time, when an adolescents behavior is the most important for peers. At this age, Jamie realized how much he differs from his peers. He has very few friends, and because of it the psychological symptom as unsociability went downhill he went further into himself.
Jamie is also scared by physical changes happening with him. He sees that he falls of in development comparing with his friends he is unusually thin and small as for a 13-year-old boy. In addition, doctors say he has severe imbalance features detecting endocrine pathology; thus, his hormonal development is slowed down (Schopler, 1983). In addition, Jamie began to show epileptic seizures, this is common for children with autism of his age, but it scares him a lot and influences the psychological condition.
Jamies mother noticed that a boys emotional state became worse. He has emotional instability. Jamie was a rather inert child, and such symptom as emotional irregularity was not observed. However, now he frequently becomes impulsive, angry, overexcited and hysterical. These active periods do not last long; they are replaced by inertia, passivity and lack of movement. Jamie can sit and stare into the window or a wall for hours, then he gets up and starts running for a minute and goes back to passive sitting often weaving from side to side. Also, Jamies mother observes the boys desire to lie or sit more, lack of desire to do anything to get out of the house, passive sitting out watching TV. Jamie is absolutely unsociable at these periods. He goes inside himself, and no one can influence his behavior until Jamie himself gets out of the stupefaction.
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Jamie began to yearn for independence and even manifested the desire to live independently. He is strongly influenced by his friends being a little older than he. They became his role models, and his mother has not such influence on Jamies behavior as she had before. The family is no longer involved in the formation of values, behavior, manners. Jamie feels involved when he is with his friends, despite they occasionally joke on his disease. However, in cases other children are making jokes on his state, Jamies friends always protect him. Nevertheless, his friends are teaching him to stand up for himself, which develops the boys socializing skills. In addition, despite Jamies restraint, he desires to communicate with peers, but he cannot listen to the interlocutor, keep the conversation, and keep psychological and spatial distance (Happe, 1995). The boy has a good word stock for his condition, but he is too shy to use it, he thinks people would laugh at his attempts to communicate.
Jamie has good intellectual ability, but often he is helpless in everyday life, for example, he sometimes may become hysteric when he cannot fasten the shoe-laces or make the bad. It is obvious that the boy desires to manage himself alone, especially with such simple things as mentioned above. According to Ericssons developmental stages, adolescents at the age of 13 strive to discover own identity and desire to define themselves as individualities separately from family and society (Schopler, 1983). Here, Jamies development is common and normal since he tries to become a separate individual and tries to do everything separately.
However, he feels he does not correspond fully with the requirements of an independent person, and the process of adaptation goes pretty hard. The result is that the boy demonstrates the signs of inferiority complex (Baron-Cohen, & Bolton, 1993). Jamie understands that he differs from his other peers, and this leads to low self-esteem, insecurity, and a number of other complexes.
Although the level of intellectual development of adolescents with autism is different, it is known that, according to various tests results, most of them are assessed as mentally retarded (Happe, 1995). The significant variation in the profile of the intellect, reflecting the unevenness of their achievements when performing different tasks, is marked. Jamie is also considered as having mental retardation. In particular, the boy is more successful in activities or nonverbal tasks requiring the use of direct memory. He has difficulties if it is necessary to meet the challenges requiring verbal reasoning, generalization and symbolization (Happe, 1995). Theoretically, adolescents of his age are able to focus on verbal assertions, but, as we can see, this stage of ordinary development is not met (Thies, & Travers, 2001).
Jamie as an autistic child does not meet the Eriksons and Piaget developmental growth stages (Schopler, 1983). He has mental retardation, as well as a physical one as compared to healthy adolescents. For example, as to the psychological state it is stated by Piaget When faced with a problem, adolescents come up with a general theory of all possible factors that might affect the outcome and deduce from it specific hypothesis that might occur (as cited in Thies, & Travers, 2001). Jamie does not create the theory of a possible problem solution; at the problem occurrence he either withdraws into himself or performs numerous stereotypical actions, motor and speech, which does not occur in normal children. He has difficulties in improvising and making his own, not stereotypical, decisions. As to cognitive problems, children of his age are as a rule able to state their thoughts clearly, solve various life problems and be independent (Thies, & Travers, 2001). Jamie strives for independence, but it is obvious he cannot yet achieve this goal.
In order to make a conclusion, it should be pointed out that Jamie has a loving and caring mother, who always tries to help him grow up as an ordinary boy. She is trying to help her son to accomplish age-appropriate tasks by teaching him the means of verbal communication. She often invites the boys friends in order to teach Jamie communicate with peers. She prepares him to the challenges he may face in teenage period, such as body changes, hygiene needs, and interest to girls. She teaches Jamie to express his emotions properly, raise his self-esteem and self-belief. In addition, Jamie continues to work with therapists and cognitive development specialists. The successful results allow hoping that Jamie will grow up a normal boy and have a happy life. The boy requires special treatment in order to manage with his disease.