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Chapter 15 - CHAPTER FIFTEEN DISORDERS OF CHILDHOOD...

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CHAPTER FIFTEEN DISORDERS OF CHILDHOOD & ADOLESCENCE I. PERVASIVE DEVELOPMENTAL DISORDERS Severe childhood disorders that affect psychological functioning in the areas of language, social relationships, attention, perception and affect are referred to as pervasive developmental disorders. 1. Autistic Disorders Impairment in social interactions includes lack of interest in others, body postures, gestures, facial expressions. Lack of awareness of other people’s identity is noted. As infants, they prefer to be left alone and not touched. Verbal and non-verbal communications are impaired and there is lack of ability to speak properly and coherently. Activities and interests are limited such as staring into space, total self-absorption, & lack of social empathy are noted. I.Q. is usually less than seventy, showing mental retardation(mild). However, sometimes autistic savants ( but proficient in like piano for ex) are noted. Etiology of Autistic Disorders (a) Psycholoanalytic (Psychodynamic) Theories Impaired and deviancy of parent-child interactions can cause autism. Cold and unresponsive parenting might be another important factor. (b) Genetic Studies A predisposition interacting with the environmental stressors may result in this disorder. (gene that interacts with the environment)(note: we do know that it is caused by genetic factors) (c) Central Nervous System Impairment
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Many organic conditions are associated with autism that suggests CNS impairment. Treatment of Autistic Behavior In general, these persons are very difficult to treat. Drug therapy has shown mixed results. Behavior modification has been helpful and effective, but takes too long.
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