PSYCHOPATHOLOGY 2Psychopathology: AutismAutism disorder is a lifelong neurodevelopmental condition which is characterized by impaired verbal and non-verbal communication, poor social interaction as well as repetitive and restricted behavior (Silverman, 2012). The disease affects how the patients make sense of their environment. Autism is a spectrum condition and is commonly referred to as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This is because despite people with the disease sharing a number of traits, the disorder impacts them in different ways. The signs of the disease are noticeable within the first two years of the life of a child. As the child ages, the signs develop gradually though several children with the disorder show normal development but regress later in life. This paper discusses autism in terms of its nature and history of diagnosis and management. In addition, it analyzes an empirical research study on the management and treatment of autism via CBT.Nature and Scope of AutismThe signs and symptoms of autism begin at an age of about six months and become more pronounced when a child is about 2 to 3 years of age. An individual may possess the symptoms even in adulthood though in more muted form. Autism patients have social impairment and hence, they lack intuition about other people. Autistic infants have the tendency of showing less responsiveness to the social stimuli (Kuehn, 2012). They look at other people less often, hardly smile and respond less when their own names are called out. Research shows that about a third tohalf of autistics fail to develop sufficient natural speech necessary for meeting daily communication needs. The communication problems may start as early as the first year of an individual’s life and may include diminished responsiveness, unusual gestures, babbling and vocal patterns that are unsynchronized with the parent or care provider. Autism patients also display an array of restricted or repetitive behavior. These include compulsive behavior such as
PSYCHOPATHOLOGY 3arranging items in lines or stacks, stereotypy such as head rolling and hand flapping, ritualistic behavior such as unchanging dressing code, self-injury such as eye-poking as well as restricted behavior such as preoccupation with a certain item or activity (Norris, Lecavalier and Edwards, 2011) About 1% to 10% of autism cases depict unusual abilities. An example of such abilities is sprinter abilities such as trivia memorization. Unusual eating behavior is also common in about 75% of children with autism. Food selectivity is the most common of such behavior even though food refusal and eating rituals are also a common practice (Kuehn, 2012).