Studies have suggested that as many as 1 in 150 children are diagnosed with Autism in the United States, more than previously thought. Due to that staggering statistic, many are becoming incredibly concerned for the future generations and there are several questions as to whether or not the prevalence of this disorder will continue to climb. There is also dispute regarding whether or not the number of Autistic children is growing or if the techniques for diagnosing and researching Autism have improved.
The cause of Autism remains unknown, but there are unproven hypotheses that point fingers at diet, digestive tract changes, mercury poisoning, the body's inability to use vitamins and minerals normally, and vaccines, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Also, it seems to have some ties to genetic factors. It is significantly (3 - 4 times) more prominent in boys than girls. Autism is typically diagnosed by age two, when parents notice that their child has difficulty with pretend play, social interactions and communication.
In one of Professor Peterson's lectures he showed a video of a former University of Minnesota student named Joe Mohs. The video told about Joe's childhood diagnosis with Autism and his astounding recovery. This genuinely stunned me, as I was completely unaware that Autism was treatable in any way. Joe recovered after he underwent an intensive, 8-hour-a-day therapy program at age three from Dr. Lovaas at UCLA. The Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) techniques used by Dr. Lovaas involve a modified version of shaping (among other therapy techniques), a version of Operant Conditioning first discovered by B. F. Skinner. Shaping involves rewarding desirable behavior. ABA at one point also used aversives, which involves punishing unwanted behavior. ABA no longer uses adversives and the use of adversives was very controversial. Psychology is constantly evolving and making remarkable breakthroughs that affect the quality of life for countless individuals, a feat not easily accomplished.
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