AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER 7
Autismspectrum disorder (ASD) is an intricate and diverseneuro-developmental condition (Deisher, Doan, Omaiye, Koyama &Bwabye, 2014). It is diagnosed on the basis of the presence andharshness of central abnormalities in social communication as well asrepetitive conducts. This report will discuss ASD etiology,diagnostic features, co-morbidity, differential diagnosis, as well asintervention strategies in its treatment.
Theetiology of ASD has been broadly debated for a long time.Nevertheless, the accurate cause is still not known. Studies thathave been carried out by professionals indicate that ASD may becaused by either environmental or genetic factors or both (Shaw etal., 2014). Also, others have proposed that it may be a combinationof neurological development, environmental factors, and geneticfactors. Genetic factors have been perceived to play a critical role,but the extent of which they are considered as a cause for thedisorder has not been established. Although genetic factors have beenassociated with the cause of the disorder, empirical research has notbeen in a position to conclusively identify specific genes that arelinked with the disorder (Shaw Sheth, Li & Tomljenovic, 2014).Thus, more research is required in the area. Apart from thesefactors, some parents have pointed out that vaccines can cause ASD.However, there is no scientific evidence to indicate that vaccineshave a link to the disorder. A recent research conducted by Jain,Marshall, Buikema, Bancroft, Kelly & Newschaffer (2015) hasconfirmed that there is no association amid ASD and vaccines.Furthermore, despite environmental factors being claimed to cause thedisorder, studies have not established whether perinatal, postnatal,or prenatal factors cause the disorder. Therefore, it can be arguedthat the etiology of this disorder is a combination of environmentaland genetic factors although there is no research that has determinedthe accuracy of these factors as the contributors of the disorder.
DiagnosticFeatures of the Disorder
Thereare different diagnostic features that are associated with ASD. Oneof the characteristics includes constant deficits in socialcommunication as well as social interaction across differentcontexts. These may be exhibited by deficits in nonverbalcommunication behaviors for social interaction, a shortfall insocial-emotional reciprocity, and a decline in creating, maintainingand understanding relationships. Another feature entails havingrestricted, repetitive behavior patterns, activities, or intereststhat can be indicated by highly limited, fixated interests which areabnormal in focus stereotyped or recurring motor movements, speechor use of objects and insistence on sameness (American PsychiatricAssociation, 2013). In addition, another characteristic that can helpin the diagnoses of ASD is excessive adherence to schedules,ritualized patterns of verbal or nonverbal conduct, or extremeresistance to change.
DifferentialDiagnosis Associated with
Duringthe diagnostic evaluation process, it is critical for the leadclinician to collect and integrate data so as to determine whether anASD diagnosis is justified. This can be established throughcollecting adequate data and applying proper skills to distinguishASD from other disorders. Accurate diagnosis is important because ofthe effectiveness of early intervention in the disorder. Differentialdiagnosis associated with the disorder includes genetic conditions,mental health conditions, hearing impairment, selective mutism,speech disorder, and developmental delay (American PsychiatricAssociation, 2013).
Co-morbidityis to be expected in ASD either directly or indirectly (AutismTreatment Trust, 2014). There are different medical and psychiatricdisorders that may affect individuals having ASD they includeepilepsy, GI disorders, hypertension, hearing impairments, allergies,asthma, and dyslipidemia among others. These conditions can affectindividuals of different age groups. Adults who have developmentaldisabilities have a risk for osteoporosis (Autism Treatment Trust,2014).
FindingsAssociated With the Disorder As It Applies To a Forensic MentalHealth Population
Individualshaving ASD have been considered to exhibit some strange behaviors,especially when they are in a new environment. This disorientationhas made professionals in the forensic area find out a way that theycan help individuals suffering from ASD undergo trials. There areindications emerging from court decisions showing that mental healthexperts and judicial officers have not always been aware of thecounter-intuitive features of ASD so that they can be in a positionto make fair decisions in establishing the criminal culpability andresponsibility of individuals having ASD (Freckelton, 2013). As of2013, it can be indicated that the occurrence of cases where ASDbecomes summoned as related to criminal trials or sentencing appearsto be on the rise. This can be attributed to an increase in therecognition of those having ASD in the general population(Freckelton, 2013). Therefore, the legal community is playing acritical role in ensuring that those with ASD receive fair trials.
InterventionStrategies and Evidence-Based Practices in the Treatment of ASD
Thereare two broad categories of interventions that can be used in thetreatment of ASD, which include comprehensive treatment models (CTMs)and focused intervention practices. CTMs comprise of a set ofpractices that are designed to realize a broad learning ordevelopmental impact on the central deficits of ASD (Wong, Odom,Hume, Cox, Fettig, Kucharczyk & Schultz, 2014). Examples of CTMsinclude UCLA Young Autism Program, TEACCH program, and the LEAPmodel. Alternatively, the focused intervention practices are usuallydesigned so as to address a single skill or goal of a learner havingASD (Wong et al., 2014). These practices are operationally clear,address specific outcomes, and occur for a shorter period compared toCTMs. Examples of focused intervention practices include pivotalresponse training, promoting, and video modeling as well as discretetrial teaching. Focused intervention practices can be considered asthe building blocks of educational programs for youths having ASD.
ASDis a neuro-developmental condition. The etiology of the condition hasbeen broadly debated for a long time, but the precise cause is stillnot known. Genetic factors have been perceived to play a criticalrole, but the extent of which they are considered as a cause for thedisorder has not been established. Although genetic factors have beenassociated with the cause of the disorder, empirical research has notbeen in a position to conclusively identify specific genes that arelinked with the disorder. The etiology of this disorder is acombination of environmental and genetic factors. The diagnosticfeatures of the condition include constant deficits in socialcommunication as well as social interaction across differentcontexts restricted, repetitive behavior patterns, activities, orinterests and excessive adherence to schedules, ritualized patternsof verbal or nonverbal conduct, or extreme resistance to change.There are two broad categories of interventions that can be used inthe treatment of ASD, which include comprehensive treatment models(CTMs) and focused intervention practices. The focused interventionpractices are operationally clear, address specific outcomes, andoccur for a shorter period compared to CTMs.
AmericanPsychiatric Association (2013). AutismSpectrum Disorder.American Psychiatric Publishing.
AutismTreatment Trust (2013). MedicalComorbidities in s: A Primer for Health CareProfessionals and Policy Makers.Treating Autism Publications.
Deisher,A.T., Doan, V.N., Omaiye, A., Koyama, K. & Bwabye, S. (2014).Impact of Environmental Factors on the Prevalence of AutisticDisorder after 1979. Journalof Public Health and Epidemiology,Vol. 6(9) 271-284.
Freckelton,I. (2013). Forensic Issues in : Learning fromCourt Decisions. INTECHOpen Science Open Minds.
JainA, Marshall J, Buikema A, Bancroft T, Kelly JP. & Newschaffer CJ.(2015). Autism Occurrence by MMR Vaccine Status among US Childrenwith Older Siblings with and Without Autism. JAMA313(15):1534-1540. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.3077.
Shaw,CA., Sheth, S., Li, D. & Tomljenovic, L. (2014). Etiologyof autism spectrum disorders: Genes, environment, or both? OA Autism2(2):11. University of British Columbia, Vancouver.
Wong,C., Odom, S. L., Hume, K. Cox, A. W., Fettig, A., Kucharczyk, S. &Schultz, T. R. (2014). Evidence-based practices for children,youth, and young adults with . ChapelHill: The University of North Carolina, Frank Porter Graham ChildDevelopment Institute, Autism Evidence-Based Practice Review Group.