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Autism and Mental Retardation

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By kmaaggonecrazy
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Autism and Mental Retardation
Kelly Maag
PSY/270
August 24, 2014
Cathy Matresse

Autism and Mental Retardation
This paper is about Autism and Mental Retardation. I will be telling you about the features, treatments, how mental retardation is diagnosed, and the explanation is no longer considered because of the lack of support for it as well as several other things about each of these diagnoses. I hope it will give a person a better understanding about these conditions and maybe help educate people more about what these people go through as well.
Autism Primary Features
There are several primary features of Autism that a person will show. Some of the different features are, being “extremely unresponsive to others, uncommunicative with others, repetitive, and rigid” (Fundamental of Abnormal Psychology Ch. 14 p.448). Children with autism have a hard time making friends and socializing appropriately with them. They may have an eye to eye gaze when they are being talked to and may not have much of an imagination when it comes to playing. They may hardly talk and the best thing parents can do for a child they have that had autism is to treat them normal and help them find a way to communicate with others.
Explanations of Autism There are many different explanations for why a child is how they are. When it comes to autism cognitive limitations and brain abnormalities are the primary causes of autism. “Theorists once thought that family dysfunctions and social stressors were the primary cause of autism” (Fundamental of Abnormal Psychology Ch. 14 p.450), but that has been dismissed now due to lack of support on this. “Other theorists believe that people with autism people with autism have a central perceptual or cognitive disturbance that makes normal communication and interactions impossible” (Fundamental of Abnormal Psychology Ch. 14 p.450). One influential explanation holds that individuals with the disorder fail to develop a theory of mind—an awareness that other people base their behaviors on their own beliefs, intentions, and other mental states, not on information that they have no way of knowing (Hale & Tager-Flusberg, 2005; Frith, 2000).
Treatment of Autism
There are different treatments for Autism that are used these days. Treatments of particular help are behavioral therapy, communication training, parent training, and community integration. In addition, psychotropic drugs and certain vitamins have sometimes helped when combined with other approaches (Teicher et al., 2008; Volkmar, 2001). Parents can help their children with autism by treating them as if they were as normal as any other children and teach them different things to help them do things like other kids do just in a different way that they can handle or do. I have a friend who taught her son sign language to help him to communicate until he found his voice. He has since graduated from college with a degree in horticulture with honors.
Criteria and Diagnosis of Mental Retardation How is a person determined or diagnosed with Mental Retardation? They display general intellectual functioning that is well below average, in combination with poor adaptive behavior (APA, 2000). That is, in addition to having a low IQ (a score of 70 or below), a person with mental retardation must have great difficulty in areas such as communication, home living, self-direction, work, or safety (APA, 2000). Generally people show signs before the age of 18 of having mental retardation, but because of brain injuries and problems from an outside traumatic situation a person can become mentally retarded after the age of 18 as well. Sociocultural biases will label people mentally retarded though because they may have a learning disability, may work undemanding jobs, may even rock back and forth or work in special job programs. Now a days it is determined by what a person’s IQ is and knowing how to communicate, take care of themselves, work and staying safe.
Levels of Mental Retardation There are four different levels of mental retardation that people will be classified in when deemed mentally retarded. The first one is, “mild (IQ 50–70), moderate (IQ 35–49), severe (IQ 20–34), and profound (IQ below 20)” (Fundamental of Abnormal Psychology Ch. 14 p.457). The level in which most people fall into is the mild retardation. Mild retardation is where they can be educated in school and can hold down a job and they are usually found out to mental retardation when they are in school. Moderate is diagnosed before they get into school and by the time they are in middle school they show drastic issues with learning. Severe is shown during the early years when motor skills and communion skills are first shown. Only eight to ten percent of the population is at this level. Profound mental retardation is discovered at birth usually and they need to usually live in special environments and can be taught the basics of how to walk, take care of themselves and talk. Only one to two percent of the people will be at this level.
Biological Causes of Mental Retardation The biological causes of mental retardation are that a mother’s moderate drinking, drug use, or malnutrition during pregnancy may lower her child’s intellectual potential (Ksir et al., 2008). Similarly, malnourishment during a child’s early years may hurt his or her intellectual development, although this effect can usually be reversed at least partly if a child’s diet is improved before too much time goes by (Fundamental of Abnormal Psychology Ch. 14 p.458). When women are pregnant, we need to watch what we do and put into our bodies and when they are born both parents, if both are part of the babies life needs to make sure that the child is receiving everything it needs so it stays healthy and grows and develops like they should.
Prevention of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome The only way a mother can prevent their baby from having fetal alcohol syndrome is simply not to drink any type of alcohol. It can be one of the many causes of mental retardation as well. When a woman finds out they are pregnant they need to find out if they are on medications if it will affect the baby and if so what they can do to stop taking that medication or be placed on a different medication, they should not be drinking any alcoholic beverages and taking any illegal drugs if they are at the time. They, in my opinion, should be putting the baby’s welfare first before their own personal selfish wants or needs.
Normalization and Mainstreaming Normalization is “the principle that institutions and community residences should expose people with mental retardation to living conditions and opportunities similar to those found in the rest of society” (Fundamental of Abnormal Psychology Ch. 14, p.460). Mainstreaming is “the placement of children with mental retardation in regular school classes” (Fundamental of Abnormal Psychology Ch. 14, p.460). I feel that normalization and mainstreaming should be done for those with autism and mental retardation. I know from when I lived in Arizona, there was a place called Rainbow Acres. It was a place where the residence all have some form of mental retardation or autism and they have their own trailers that they live in, pay their own bills, and work jobs. They are associated with a place called the arc that will take them to the store, rides to work and some of the arc workers will sit and help the person when they need it at work. They are able to live independently with assistance only with things they legally cannot do for themselves like drive. They otherwise have bank accounts of their own, though it is monitored by a payee and responsibility for what they choose to do every day, I feel this should be done for all people that are able to function well enough in society so they feel like they are as normal as anyone else and to be treated the same as anyone else.

References:
APA, 2000
Fundamental of Abnormal Psychology Ch. 14 p.448
Fundamental of Abnormal Psychology Ch. 14 p.450
Fundamental of Abnormal Psychology Ch. 14 p.457
Fundamental of Abnormal Psychology Ch. 14 p.458
Fundamental of Abnormal Psychology Ch. 14, p.460
Hale & Tager-Flusberg, 2005; Frith, 2000
Ksir et al., 2008
Teicher et al., 2008; Volkmar, 2001

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