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Autism: Across the Spectrum & Therapy the Solution
Autism can be labeled as one of the most challenging, confusing, as well as researched disorders spanning over many years. Out of the 7.5 billion and counting individuals in our world, there are millions of Americans who are diagnosed with Autism or ASD. Autism results in a complex developmental disability which affects the ability to function normally; one of many challenges faced. Even then, going beyond the label of ‘social awkwardness’, this disorder poses real challenges in areas of social skills but not limited to speech, behaviors, and communication. This ultimately causes delays in interaction and expressing oneself.  Affecting individuals across all age groups, Autism is a disorder that simply cannot be cured but definitely treated. With the several treatments available, the most effective is therapy. Therapy provides a therapeutic and natural way in coping with the obstacles an Autistic person deals with on a daily basis. Therefore, therapy is the most beneficial and natural solution as opposed to medication.
Autism is a spectrum and living on the edge of chaos is just a part of it. Living on this edge gives insight into an Autistic world. One, that many don’t understand and question as to where it stems from. According to Volkmar, “the essential feature of autism was the children’s inability to relate”(2). In addition, “Starting in the 1970’s, however, there was a growing appreciation that autism was indeed a distinctive condition, not the earliest manifestation of childhood schizophrenia” (8). Many people, unknowledgeable about the spectrum, associated the overall concept with schizophrenia, though they are two different conditions. Exploring the possible routes of what has triggered Autism to form, is what many clinicians began to study as they were becoming more familiar with the disorder. However, “how it’s classified is by using diagnostic testing methods” (Mesibov 43). Blenner states, “Autistic disorder is diagnosed when an individual exhibits six or more symptoms across the three core areas” (894).
Being on the spectrum of Autism means that there are different levels of severity. Level one, requiring minimal support, according to www.autismspeaks.org includes, “Difficulty initiating social interactions, and clear examples of atypical or unsuccessful response to social overtures of others”. In this level, an autistic person may appear odd or unsuccessful in communication when it begins to fail, despite being able to speak in clear full sentences. In addition, level two, requiring substantial support, is associated with “marked deficits in verbal and nonverbal social communication skills; social impairments apparent even with supports in place, and limited initiation of social interactions”. This explains the reason why a individual 

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In addition, there are several factors that contribute to the cause of Autism. “Genetics, infections, and exposure to viral illness during pregnancies are the top three possible causes” ( www.asha.org). Though, through genetics is the most commonly suggested factor. Autism has a strong genetic basis and is heterogeneous which means that it is caused by different genes or alleles. As more extensive tests are becoming available, according to Blenner, “the proportions of individuals who have an abnormality on genetic evaluation is increasing” (894). Not only are genetics considered factors but environmental factors come into play as well such as birth order. 
Pregnancies  are very sensitive periods in the development of human life. Exposure to viral illnesses and harmful chemicals during pregnancy has been debated on whether or not it is consistently associated with Autism. Although, ” Autistic children are more likely to be born first in two-child families or fourth or later in families of four or more children” (Mesibov 51).
In relation to the factors, it is clear how Autism is associated with complications in functioning in society. A disorder such as this can be hard to cope with depending on the individual but for the majority it’s presented as an issue. Cognitive abilities are indeed scattered which results in showing signs of weaknesses and strengths, respectively. It is noted by Mesibov that, “large discrepancies among learning functions in that the same child may be severely delayed in one area and superior in another” (38), when it comes to intellectual ability. 
Signs not only appear in school aged children but most importantly infants, the start of it. “Autism starts off around infant stage but cannot be diagnosed until around the age of two years old”, as noted by Mesibov, (57). In infants, the lack of social communication is experienced too. An essential warm and loving bond between mother and child is lacking for the infant will experience the lack of interest for the human face as well as the human voice. This disturbance in behavioral as well as neurological development grows with the child, and progresses into more complications as they age. Children with Autism often experience, in school settings, low social status because of the fact that it’s hard to understand subtle aspects of social communications. Some people on the Autism Spectrum do not mind being alone and actually enjoy it. Other’s describe themselves as feeling like there’s no one around them or feeling alone. According to iancommunity.org, “Wherever a person falls on the Autistic Spectrum, they are affected by this tendency to not pay attention to the social world”. An Autistic person may focus on objects rather than people and often avoid eye contact as well, not wanting any human interaction.

Growing and maturing with Autism is often looked at as a setback. The setback in this case are employment opportunities. Several parents of children with autism spectrum disorders face very special problems as their children begin to mature from toddler to teen and from teen to adult. With that many parents still have to help plan the future outcomes. Employment opportunities for those who are autistic can be hard to find and even stressful to consider. According to Tincani, ” families and school districts anticipate the child’s needs after graduation and offer work-training opportunities in high school” (28). However, families of those with autism are more likely required to take an active role of finding and pursuing employment opportunities for their child, in most cases. In addition, “there is research that suggests that functioning level has one of the most direct correlations with obtaining occupational placements” (28). Individuals that require support and or high functioning have more success than those that requiring substantial support and or lower functioning. Implementing treatment can be very useful in times of anxiety, whether child or adult.
Without the help of treatments, having a prosperous lifestyle as an individual with Autism would’ve been hard. With treatments, Autism is better to cope with and gives the individual affected, a feel of relief.
The treatment of Autism has been debated for many years. Several families across America are considering the option of therapy over medication. Medication alone, simply cannot measure up to the benefits that therapies provide to a child as there are a vast amount of activities to participate in. Appropriate intervention, especially in childhood, can ,make a big difference in helping prevent further behavioral problems. Starting off interventions in children at an early age makes for an smoother process in adapting to their surroundings as they age and mature. Skill, style, and the experience of the therapist are very critical aspects in how effective the intervention will be. The top interventions which are considered behavioral or educational according to iancommunity.org include, “Speech Therapy, Music Therapy, Visual Stories, and the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)”. Out of those, Speech therapy is the most widely used and the most common preference. Speech therapy helps to improve overall communications and most intensive therapy programs feature this technique. According to autismspeaks.org, “Speech language therapy is designed to coordinate the mechanics of speech with the meaning and social use of language.” A speech language pathologist implements the activities. Speech-language Pathologists gives individual evaluations to look into the challenges one faces as well as aptitude. This provides a sufficient and reliable insight into how severe the condition is and how to better work with the individual. Learning non-verbal communication skills like signs or gestures for example, are the goals set by the pathologist. Speech therapy is either provided one-on-one or in a group/ classroom setting, making it more personable and also comfortable knowing that there are others there going through the same situations.
For those who have little or no verbal ability, the most commonly used method is picture exchange communication system or PECS. The PECS is not only implemented in schools but can also be done at home. Having an intervention such as this provided in a home helps to avoid any anxiety usually given in a public setting.

“Visual support/ stories is also a part of the therapy treatment for it provides structure, prevents anxiety, builds confidence and encourage independence” as mentioned by www.autism.org/uk. Associating an object