Application: Symptoms and Treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder
One of the disorders of childhood and adolescence that has received increasing research and media attention over the past few years is autism spectrum disorder. In Abnormal Psychology, the author highlights the core features of this serious childhood disorder and provides a description of a child named Mark who embodies a typical clinical picture of autism (Comer, 2014, p. 539). In this week’s Application Assignment, you will review a video program featuring two children with autism and draw connections between their behaviors and the symptoms described in the textbook.
To prepare for this assignment:
- Review the textbook section titled “Long-Term Disorders That Begin in Childhood,” focusing on symptoms, causal factors, and treatment approaches.
- Peruse the two websites about autism spectrum disorder included in the required Learning Resources list, focusing on information about the major symptoms of autism and treatment approaches.
The assignment: (2–3 pages)
- Consider the following scenario, in which you presume you are a mental health professional: You have recently met with James and his family. As an infant, James rarely showed interest in his parents or toys. Now, at 5 years old, he does not use intelligible words to communicate with his parents. He will not tolerate being read to. He likes to watch the same recorded television program over and over. He screams loudly and begins to hit himself when the program shuts off. He quickly becomes calm when the program resumes.
Your evaluation has determined that James meets the criteria for autism spectrum disorder. James’s parents are coming to your office tomorrow to discuss the results of your evaluation.
- Prepare a written report of what you will tell James’s parents about autism spectrum disorder. Be sure to cover the symptoms that James meets from the DSM-5 Checklist (Table 17-6).
- Discuss symptoms of autism spectrum disorder in light of normal development in the following domains: language, cognition, emotion, and social. In other words, what is noticeably abnormal in children with autism spectrum disorder versus what you might see in their same-age peers?
- Summarize the research evidence on the effectiveness of different approaches to treatment, based on your textbook reading. Include your final treatment recommendation to James’s parents.
- To close your paper, consider how you might answer if the parents ask, “How did my child end up with this disorder? What did we do wrong? Is there any hope for him?”
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