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The Biology of Autistic Spectrum Disorder and the Social Implications

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Access to Nursing and Healthcare Professions 2007 Interdisciplinary Study Autism and the Social Implications By: Stephen Davies Biology: Hilary Barber Sociology: Jane Simpson Study Skills: Judith Larsen Contents Summary 3 Introduction 4 What are the causes and symptoms of having ASD? 5 Social Interaction 6 Behaviour Patterns 7 Possible causes of ASD 7 Genes 7 Single Abnormal Gene 10 AUTOSOMAL DOMINANT INHERITANCE 10 AUTOSOMAL RECESSIVE INHERITANCE 11 Mumps-Measles and Rubella Vaccine (MMR) 11 Diagnosis of having ASD 12 Are There Any Treatments Or Cures? 13 'High Functioning Autistic' 13 The Social Model of Disability 15 Impairment 15 Disability 16 Support and Interventions 18 Training 19 Drugs 19 Other methods of treatment 19 Assessments and Education 20 Theory of Mind 21 How do other parents fare? 21 Make Schools Make Sense Report 22 The Report on Bullying 23 What the Make Schools Make Sense Report Concluded 24 Funding 25 The Right Training for Every Teacher 26 What next? 27 Conclusion 28 References 30 Bibliography 31 Acknowledgement 32 Summary This Interdisciplinary study is based on the topic of Autistic Spectrum Disorder, commonly known as ASD. The topic of autism was chosen due to the lack of understanding and confusion that can be seen within society surrounding many issues associated with ASD. Like many neurological disorders, autism is one disorder that can't be fully explained and may be a contributing factor to why there is a lack of understanding. The information that will follow, and the research gathered, is designed to break down this narrow understanding so that those in society affected by autism can gain a wider knowledge about Autism. Research looked at was from many reliable sources such as the National Autistic Society and the NHS online. Many other sources came from books such as Luke Jackson's Freaks, Geeks & Asperger's Syndrome. Other sources were BBC news archives and BBC documentary's looking at ASD. ...read more.


In the case of ASPIE, they are challenging society. They want this to stop. However, standing up for a disability is different to fighting for people to stop treating certain illness and live in a 'neuro-diversity', in the case of autism for example. There may be oppression, however, but if adequate changes were not made to accommodate disabled people, they'd be the first to complain. In any case, this model may affect those who suffer Asperger's Syndrome, but it would not affect those with severe autism as their symptoms make it almost impossible to understand the world around them. On the other hand, it will be the parents, friends and family that will share the brunt of this. The Social Model of Disability This model distinguishes 'impairment' and 'disability'. Disabled people who felt that the individual model does not provide an explanation for their exclusion from mainstream society - because their experiences have shown them that in reality most of their problems are not caused by their impairments, worked out this model of disability but by the way society is organised. The key definitions of this model are: (from http://www.manchester.gov.uk/disability/policies/model.htm) Impairment An injury, illness, or congenital condition that causes or is likely to cause a long term effect on physical appearance and / or limitation of function within the individual that differs from the commonplace. Disability The loss or limitation of opportunities to take part in society on an equal level with others due to social and environmental barriers. (Definitions from http://www.manchester.gov.uk/disability/policies/model.htm) In this model, the impairment and disability definitions are combined. This means that both the cause of functional limitation and the functional limitation within the individual itself are separated from external factors. There are 'barriers' or elements of social organisation that cause disability, which take no or little account of people who have impairments. Society stops those with impairments from taking part in everyday life and if they are to rejoin mainstream society, then society has to change the way it is organised. ...read more.


Parents are finding it increasingly difficult to choose from very few well-equipped schools. This in turn leads to difficulty in finding the right sort of training and education. Without adequate training, teachers may not be able to recognise the milder symptoms of bad behaviour in autistic children and may believe that potential sufferer's of autism are just badly behaved, rude, and ignorant who constantly cause trouble. This can potentially leave any child with ASD in a more vulnerable position than ever, as they do not get the proper care and attention that they deserve and need as their 'bad behaviour' shadows the reason behind this disruptiveness. This is also backed up by the National Autistic Society's Make Schools Make Sense report. It could be the case that more effort should go into teachers training so that teachers may be able to spot the early, yet disturbing symptoms of ASD. It is only when a child is diagnosed is when the life long journey can begin. The government must take extreme caution to the warnings and take notice of any report that suggests that the educational system is letting people down, as the blame will soon be on the people who govern education, which is central Government. It is unfair that children should be excluded from school because the schools in question cannot offer the required support. This could have an adverse affect on autistic children and has the potential of causing the symptoms of ASD worsen in some children for the feeling of 'not wanted' or 'not belonging'. Parents, health officials and Government have to work together for there to be a more diverse school system that works and to ensure that children with or without ASD receive the best that British education has to offer. However, for this to be accomplished further research needs to be conducted by all agencies to ensure that all children with ASD or any other learning disability has the best education with adequate support available to them. ...read more.

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