Hi everyone, my name is Ishan and welcome to my catalyst Project. My project is based around Autism and whether there has been any advancement in the search for solutions to it: in short whether they’ve been any new cures for the disease. This topic is very personal and important to me because my brother has the disease and seeing him live with it for the past 12 years has taught me a lot about it. I’ve always been curious about the possible cures to the problem, finding different ways to help my brother and slowly integrate him to the real world. When the catalyst project came was presented to us, I realized that I could find out more about my brother’s diseases and its possible cures through it. Down below is a video of my brother and his day to day life to give you a general idea of what it’s like for an autistic child.
What is Autism?
Autism, otherwise known as Autism Spectrum Disorder, ” to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech, and nonverbal communication”(“What Is Autism?”). Autism is a disease which is a disease which is unique to each individual who has it. Unlike diseases such as cancer, autism doesn’t have common symptoms. For example, while two individuals who have autism may both have issues with nonverbal communication, the extent to which they suffer from the problem can be very different with one individual still being able to communicate, to others having no communication skill at all. Therefore, it is referred to as a spectrum rather than a binary disease.
Also unlike cancer, we don’t know its root cause. In cancer, we understand that a cell fails to undergo apoptosis, therefore the cell never dies and the cells of that organ start spread throughout the body. This, in turn, leads other organs functioning being affected. In the case of autism, we can’t say definitely what causes these symptoms to appear. We understand that is a combination of genetic and environmental influences which cause this, but because there are so many varying symptoms it has been hard to narrow down and concretely say what causes autism. Still, there are various approaches which are being implemented to resolve autism and its problems.
Below is a video explaining autism more in detail.
List of ‘Cures’ for Autism
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)
Early Start Denver Model (ESDM)
Occupational Therapy (OT)
Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT)
Relationship Development Intervention (RDI)
I’ll only be focusing on one of these ‘cures’ as this is the only one which is the most closely related to my brother(being that its the only ones that he has undergone) but if you’re interested in other cures, you can to the website linked below.
Most of these cures/ therapies aren’t only for autism but for other diseases as well, it’s just that autism causes such a wide range of disabilities that occupational therapy is one method used to improve the livelihood of these individuals. The general purpose of occupational therapy is to help kids with “a physical, sensory, or cognitive disability” and “be as independent as possible in all areas of their lives”(Occupational Therapy (for Parents)).
In regards to Autism, Occupational Therapy “programs often focus on play skills, learning strategies, and self-care. OT strategies can also help to manage sensory issues.” As Occupational Therapy is quite vast, its use for Autistic individuals is based around activities which they weren’t able to develop. For them, basic activities such as writing, even with the help of occupational therapy take years to develop. Still, Occupational therapy has shown to be beneficial in the development of these individuals.
Boys are four times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls.
31% of children with ASD have an intellectual disability (intelligence quotient [IQ] <70), 25% are in the borderline range (IQ 71–85), and 44% have IQ scores in the average to above average range (i.e., IQ >85).
Children born to older parents are at a higher risk for having autism.
More facts and figures: https://www.autismspeaks.org/autism-facts-and-figures
How Can You Help?
Donate to the links down below so further research can be done on Autism and finding its cures.
“What Is Autism?” Autism Speaks, www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism.
“Occupational Therapy (for Parents).” Edited by Wendy Harron, KidsHealth, The Nemours Foundation, Mar. 2014, kidshealth.org/en/parents/occupational-therapy.html.
“Occupational Therapists : Occupational Outlook Handbook.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/mobile/occupational-therapists.htm.