What Is Autism – The Characteristics of Children with Autism
Good morning everyone. To begin with my speech, I would like to ask you guys a question. Have you ever interacted with kids who are acting weirdly or having uncontrollable temper during your secondary school even in kindergarten? Here’s my experience. I know a kid who will ask me the same mathematics tasks even though I’ve taught her a million times before; she has to hold something in her hand, mostly her doll, when she goes out; and if you took that little doll away from her she would get so upset that she might cry, even though she is already 16 years old. This annoying, trouble-making little girl, however, is my lovely little sister, Rose, who is diagnosed with Autism.
What is Autism? It is a general term for multiple syndromes which includes struggling in communication, sociability, learning disabilities and so on. According to CDC’s statistics, one in 59 children were diagnosed with autism in 2018, and the rate is still rising. Due to my sister’s autistic behaviors, she has been isolated, ignored by her peers during her junior high school life. As an elder sister, it is my duty to assure people can understand, empathize with autistic children, and thus treat them with love and patient.
So here, I am going to talk about the three main characteristics of children with Autism, which can be categorized into three dimensions: CCE, which stands for verbal communication, nonverbal communication, and emotional management. [Let’s move on to the first C, verbal communication. ] Body Children with autism are often found with a delay in developing language skills, which can result in difficulties in understanding a conversation and a repetitive use of language.
Let me give you an example. My sister, Rose, she happened to learn the word “Nike”, this famous sports outfit brand in school recently. While you may think that “Okay. So what’s the problem with Nike?”, well, here it is. When I talk to her in a video call, “What did you learn today in school?” she answered me” Nike!!!” “What else?” “Nike!!!” “okay…? Did you meet some new friends in school?” “ … Nike!!” And this word last for a week. So now you have a better understanding of the “repetitive use of language” part. In fact, there is a terminology called: Echolalia, which specifically refers to this behavior. Besides Echolalia, children with Autism are struggling in starting up a conversation or continuing one. If they really want to talk with someone, they’re more likely to talk about topics that they’re interested in.
In fact, according to Laura Anthony and her co-authors’ study, 88 % of the autistic children have an intense interest in certain objects. Not only do they talk about their interest almost all the time, but they will also spend a lot of time studying them. [Above are the verbal characteristics of autistic children. Let’s jump to the second C: Non-verbal communication of children with Autism. ] Non-verbal communication is more related to the autistic children’s social behaviors. They are often self-absorbed and seems to live their private world, where the only person they need to communicate is themselves. In fact, the origin of the word “Autism “is actually from the Greek word “Autos”, which means “Self”. If one talks to a kid with autism, it is highly possible that they won’t answer, even if you look them in the eyes, they will avoid your glance.
One of the reasons that cause them to be isolated is actually related to “social imitation”. What is it? I bet you know it. Does anyone here have younger brothers or sisters? Then you must have experienced a period that they imitated whatever you do. They follow you like a shadow, repeat the sentence you’ve said, even cry to go to school with you. It was pretty annoying, isn’t it? In fact, the imitation is a crucial process of children development in understanding social behaviors. However, children with autism do not possess this ability, causing them to have difficulties in collaborating with others, and lacking empathy. [Finally, we are now at the last alphabet, E, “Emotional Management”] Children with Autism are often labeled stubborn and controlling.
For example, some of them have to make their personal belongings lined up in their specific order or insist on certain habits, routes or colors. If things get out of their control, they will be overwhelmed with anxiety. They might start to yell and cry until they get back to the situation they use to. Have you ever seen the trendy American series “The Good Doctor”? It’s about the story of a young autistic surgeon, Shaun. He has to have his toy scalpel with him where ever he goes to keep him calm. Once he lost the scalpel, he will get so mad that he almost screws the hospital. Although “the good doctor” is a drama, it does give us a brief insight into anxiety in Autism. In fact, according to an article written by an autistic woman, she claims that those stubborn and controlling behaviors can actually serve as a mood stabilizer to ease them from an uncomfortable environment. Yes, their stubbornness may be annoying sometimes, but as a human, we all have our ways to overcome our worries and anxiety. Deep breaths or having a cup of coffee to us, is just like toy scalpel to Shaun, and the little doll I mentioned at the beginning to my sister.
To conclude, let me remind you all the three characteristics of Autism again. CCE: Verbal communication, Nonverbal communication, and Emotional management, which children with autism have difficulties of. Next time, if you happened to encounter children who don’t talk much or seem bizarre, don’t just walk away and think that they’re freak. Try to talk to them, treat them with love and patient. After all, they’re just trying hard to fit into this complicated world, as all of us do. (Watch “the good doctor” It’s legendary. ) Thank you.
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