They have small heads, prominent cheek and jaw bones, widely spaced teeth, and poor tooth enamel. However, every state now screens the phenylalanine level of newborns at 3 days of age. If an infant has PKU, dietary sources of the amino acid are lessened or eliminated. High protein foods such as meat, fish, chicken, eggs, cheese, milk, and peas are avoided. Cereals, starches, fruits and vegetables, along with phenylanine-free baby formulas are given instead. If a proper diet is maintained, these individuals can develop normally.
Functional enuresis and encorpresis are elimination disorders. The first is bedwetting, or urination, during the day or night, in one's clothing or in bed. There are three subsets of this disorder. In one, the individual (usually a child) urinates at night. In the second subtype, the individual urinates only while awake. The third subtype occurs both during the day and the night. In some cases, the child has an uncontrollable urge to urinate and cannot postpone it. In other cases, the child, for emotional reasons or because they are preoccupied with other things, delays urinating until they suddenly have to go to the bathroom and cannot make it in time. Usually these disorders disappear as a child gets older and learns self-control.
Functional encopresis is when an individual passes feces into clothing or other areas. Children over age four have usually learned to control their elimination of feces. This disorder is divided into two subtypes. The first occurs with constipation. When an individual is constipated and not moving his or her bowels regularly, there may be some leakage of stool. If the constipation is treated, this condition disappears. In the second subtype, the soiling occurs without an obvious reason. This may be related to psychological disorders, such as oppositional defiant disorder or conduct disorder.
Autism is a broadly defined developmental disorder that can range from mild to severe. It was first defined in 1943 by the Johns Hopkins psychiatrist Leo Kanner. It is usually diagnosed by age three and includes three main behavioral features: reduced or absent verbal and nonverbal communication, poor social engagement and skills, and repetitive behaviors. Autistic individuals are not retarded, and in fact may be gifted. In the famous movie, Rainman, Dustin Hoffman played an autistic savant. There has been an increase in the number of autism cases diagnosed in recent years, and the disorder has been in the news, with feature articles in many magazines and newspapers. A CNN special feature on autism, called "Autism is a World" won an award and was recently aired again. In this feature, the young woman, Sue Rubin, who suffers from autism had been thought to be retarded, until she learned 'facilitated communication', a form of communicating by typing on a keyboard. Then it was discovered that she was very intelligent. The movie follows her as she goes to college, and tries to describe her inner world. She has trouble learning to suppress the urge to bang her head. She loves to hold spoons under water, and needs time each day to do so, as this seems to calm her nervous system. She gives a powerful glimpse into the interior world of autism, where the brain does not function normally, and yet the person inside is intelligent and even gifted and wishes to connect with others. A letter from Sue Rubin on the CNN website reads, "I know I will never be cured. The cause of my autism is a genetic anomaly and can't be changed... I am resigned to living my life as it is -- a constant struggle. When I have to mask autism in class it takes a tremendous amount of effort. When I see the other students sitting calmly or chatting or answering questions so easily, I'm really jealous. When I had to stop awful autistic behaviors like head-banging, it took a tremendous amount of effort over years." She gives great insight into her suffering and her valor.
Autism is a World," a film by Gerry Wurzburg. Letter from Sue Rubin at http://www.cnn.com/CNN/Programs/presents/index.autism.world.html
Mikklesen, E.J. (2001, Oct.) Enuresis and Encopresis: ten years of progress. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. 40(10):1146-1158
Rosario, E. The Journal of Neuroscience, Dec. 20, 2006; vol 26: pp 13384-13389.