Dr. Rapin wrote an article at the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) entitled, “An 8-Year-Old Boy With Autism. ” The story published in April 2001 was about Austin, the 8-year old boy diagnosed with autism at two and a half years old. He was normal and healthy at birth showing no overt signs of abnormalities. But as he reached the toddler stage, his parents noted some troublesome attitudes. He was very aggressive to other children, moody, had stunted speech development and echoed what other people were saying. The parents then decided to submit Austin for an analysis at the Children’s Hospital.
After being diagnosed with the disorder, a drug, methylphenidate hydrochloride was administered to him, but this only worsened his aggression. At age 3, he attended a school program for children with pervasive developmental disorder. It has been a success for him, and on his 7th year, Austin was enrolled in a regular public school, although with an accompanying adult aid. Austin can now speak clear sentences, can write and interact well with others. He still undergoes therapy and a consultation with a behavioral specialist is ongoing.
Medication is also continuous as he takes 25g of fluvoxamine maleate twice a day. Now, at 8 years old, Austin’s behavior has dramatically improved. According to Dr. Rapin (2001), Austin’s case illustrates that although there are cognitive deficits in an autistic child, intelligence is not diminished. The article stresses the importance of early detection of the disorder so that intervention can be administered at once. It also points out the usual mistakes by pediatricians and physicians, and that is the “insensitivity to ominous . . . sign of trouble.
” Chiefly, the family plays the biggest role, since a child with autism requires a great deal of attention and understanding. Siblings can become sympathetic playmates as well as defenders from a hostile environment. The usual approach in treating the symptoms of autism is education (behavioral treatments) combined with medications. Rapin (2001) cited that tools like questionnaires and observation schedules are used in order to determine the most appropriate training for the child. Medicines, like antidepressants and anticonvulsants serve to alleviate the troublesome behaviors like aggression and self-injury.