Exploring Autism

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For eight years I have worked for a family with children on the autism spectrum. Autism is a term that is not easy to explain or define. Even with tons of research, so many aspects of autism are still unknown.

Many articles about this topic involve descriptions of various brain structures. The hippocampus is one highly studied area of the brain. A study involving eight to twelve year old children found that the hippocampus of children with autism is larger when compared to the control group. The study also found that the size difference of the hippocampus diminishes as children get older.

Declarative memory is also associated with the hippocampus. People with autism are often able to remember general facts without a problem. Having the capability to remember facts can help those with autism to develop social scripts. These scripts can be useful for daily tasks, such as remembering how to behave in different social settings. Creating social scripts can help people with autism to successfully introduce themselves when meeting new people. On the other hand, those with autism do have a hard time with autobiographical information, which is also a part of memory. A lot of specific details do not tend to stick in the minds of people that are on the autism spectrum.

Flexibility of switching thought processes is also difficult for those with autism. In particular, it is the rapid transition from internal thoughts and the external world that pose difficulties. The article mentions that deciding what to say next in a conversation is a decision which happens in just seconds, making it difficult for the brain to switch thought processes.

This article also points out that much more research on autism and the brain is still to be done. Some more recent work has been done on rats, but not yet humans. Perhaps research in the future will expand on this topic.

https://spectrumnews.org/news/memory-hub-underlie-social-cognitive-quirks-autism/

https://www.parents.com/health/autism/the-history-of-autism/ (picture)

3 thoughts on “Exploring Autism

  1. destinyschild

    Great job with the Autism article. I got a clear understanding of how autistic children think regarding their thought processes and what they can and cannot process. Also,talking about the material learned in class about the hippocampus was well talked about regarding the children having a larger hippocampus but it slowly gets smaller as they get older. I enjoyed reading your blog.

  2. Autumn Trower

    I wonder how significant of a factor age plays in this study. Since the age range used resembles that of a adolescent, how would the results compare if 2-5 year (infant/toddler) old were used instead. Also, if the size difference of the hippocampus diminshes as one ages, in theory does this mean that children are able to grow out of ADHD? I also like how you brought in function of the hippocampus, as we are similarly learning about such in lecture.

  3. sdavis4

    This topic is very sensitive but so important to talk about. I think that it is so great that you work with children on the spectrum and find that it takes very special people to help and stay committed to spreading love and compassion to them. I have a cousin that is on the spectrum and she’s amazing, I don’t get to see her often because she lives about three hours away but I do try to check in with her and see how things are going. Every time I get to see her she is so full of joy and works so hard in school and being social with her peers. I will admit that I am not as familiar with autism as I should be and I believe that it is something that is essential for everyone to be familiar with especially myself because I plan to be a teacher. I enjoyed reading your post and it has really opened my eyes to learn more, great post.

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