Autism And Dementia Description Of Autism Spectrum Term Paper

Length: 4 pages Sources: 6 Subject: Disease Type: Term Paper Paper: #89055531 Related Topics: Autism, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Attention Deficit Disorder, Down Syndrome
Excerpt from Term Paper :

Autism and Dementia

Description of Autism Spectrum Disorder and Dementia

Behavioral Criteria for Autism and Dementia

The Incidence Rates and Causes

Options for Treatment Based on Theoretical Models

Description of Autism Spectrum Disorder and Dementia

Autism Spectrum disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder which is essentially a brain dysfunction that has the potential to affect emotion, learning ability and memory that gradually comes to light as an individual grows up. This is generally evident in children and sometimes, if undetected and untreated, can manifest in adults also. Autism Spectrum disorder can include brain dysfunctions due to fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, Down syndrome and intellectual developmental disorder. In modern medicine, Autism and ADHD are also considered to be Autism Spectrum disorders (, 2015).

The root of autism seems to be in the very early brain development. Since it is a brain developmental condition that becomes prominent as an individual continuous to grow up, the most obvious signs of autism and symptoms of autism tend to emerge between 2 and 3 years of age. While there is no absolute cure for autism, it is widely accepted that relatively normal development and reduced undesirable behaviors can be achieved through appropriate behavioral management measures. It is also a fact that individuals affected by autism have a normal life expectancy.

Dementia is generally describes as a brain condition where there is a decline in mental ability that is severe enough to interfere with daily life of an individual. It is a condition of the brain that tends to impair the ability of individuals with respect to their cognitive abilities like memory functions, problem solving capabilities and general perception about things around.One of the manifestations of dementia is memory loss and Alzheimer's is the most common type of dementia while the second most common form of dementia is Vascular dementia which occurs after a stroke. A wide range of symptoms that are associated with a decline in memory or other thinking skills severe enough to reduce a person's ability to perform everyday is generally referred to as dementia.

Behavioral Criteria for Autism and Dementia

There are several discernable behavioral criteria for autism. One of the most significant behavioral criteria for autism is impaired social interaction. Autism is generally inherent in an individual and develops as the individual continues to grow. Therefore the characteristics of autism develop and become discernable gradually over time. Such characteristics of impaired social interaction can include indications such as being unresponsive to people or concentrating focus intently on one item and excluding of other items or functions for considerable periods of time. In time, it is noted that individuals with autism gradually withdraw and become indifferent to social engagement.

The characteristics are further accentuated by non-reaction to social engagement, individuals often become unresponsive to their names and often avoid eye contact with other people, have difficulty in interpreting and understand social cues and lack empathy. One of the indicators of the disorder is the inability to become coherent with a group or participate in group activities. There can also be some form of obsessive behavior and sometimes self-abusive behavior such as biting or head-banging. As side effects of autism, individuals can develop tuberous sclerosis, epileptic seizures, Tourette syndrome, learning disabilities, and attention deficit disorder (, 2015).

The behavioral characteristics of dementia can include a number of cognitive dysfunctions of the brain but essentially should include at least two core mental functions related to memory recall ability, communication and language problems, ability to focus and pay attention, reasoning and judgment ability and ability to create the correct visual perception.

The specific characteristics of dementia can include impaired everyday simple activities like problems with short-term memory, keeping track of a purse or wallet, paying bills, planning and preparing meals, remembering appointments or traveling out of the neighborhood.

Many of the characteristics of dementia are progressive as they begin slowly and gradually get worse. Hence one can ascertain a dementia condition if an individual experiences memory difficulties or other changes in thinking skills.

The Incidence Rates and Causes

The Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring wing of the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention estimates...


The report states that this disorder occurs in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups (CDC - Facts about Autism Spectrum Disorders - NCBDDD, 2015). The prevalence is more common among boys (1 in 42) compare dot girls (1in 189). An average prevalence rate of 1% of the population has been identified to have autism as concluded from studies in Asia, Europe, and North America (CDC - Facts about Autism Spectrum Disorders - NCBDDD, 2015).

The global prevalence of dementia from all causes to be between 5% and 7% of adults aged 60 plus as found out be a recent meta-analysis by Prince et al., (2013) (Prince et al., 2013).

In another study Matthews et al., (2013) found out in a survey of adults aged 65 plus conducted almost 2 decades apart - 1989 and 2008, the 2008 cohort had significantly lower prevalence of dementia (Matthews et al., 2013).

A study in 2010 by Corrada et al., (2010) concluded that the overall incidence rate of all-cause dementia was 18.2% per year and was similar for men and women with risk ratio for men being 0.94% and women being 0.95%. The study also found out that the rates increased exponentially with age from 12.7% per year in the 90-94-year age group to 21.2% per year in the 95-99-year age group (Corrada, Brookmeyer, Paganini-Hill, Berlau & Kawas, 2010).

The causes of autism have not been ascertained with a large degree of certainty but scientists and doctors both agree to the fact that both genetics and environment play a role in the development of the disorder. A number of genes have been identified to be associated with autism and irregularities in several regions of the brain have been found in studies of people have revealed abnormal levels of serotonin or other neurotransmitters in the brain have been found in the study of some other cases (Zimmerman & Connors, 2010). Autism can start in early fetal development stage due to defects in genes that control brain growth and that regulate how brain cells communicate with each other.

Dementia can be caused by all sorts of brain problems that tend to affect the brain or parts of the brain directly including tumors, strokes, closed-head injuries, infections, exposure to neurotoxins of substances that are toxic to the brain, genetic factors and diseases. This can occur at any stage of life (Zohar, 2012). The type of impairment manifestations that individuals develop due to dementia depend on the part of the brain that is affected (Corcoran, n.d.).

Options for Treatment Based on Theoretical Models

One of the approaches to treatment of Autism is the behavioral based approach which entails the focus on teaching children new behaviors and skills by using specialized and well-structured techniques for every day work or for the deficiencies that is manifested in such children. This approach helps developing skills and encourages appropriate behavior and is backed by evidence-based research. One of the examples of this approach is interventions using an Applied Behavior Analysis (Hayward, Eikeseth, Gale & Morgan, 2009)

Another approach for treatment and control of autism is the naturalistic or developmental intervention approach that is relationship based and aims to help the child to learn to attend, relate, interact, experience a range of feelings and ultimately think and relate in an organized and logical manner (Kaat & Lecavalier, 2013).

There are several models that use this approach like the Developmental Social-Pragmatic Model that emphasis on the importance of initiation and spontaneity in communication, following the child's attentional focus and motivations and the Greenspan's DIR or Floor Time model that is based upon Greenspan's theories of six functional milestones necessary for a child to succeed in further learning and development (Mercer, 2015).

There are also several approaches to treat and manage dementia.

One of the primary approaches is the psychiatric management of dementia. This involves a thorough psychiatric, neurological, and general medical evaluation of the nature and cause of the cognitive deficits and associated non-cognitive symptoms in relation to the patient and family. The treatment approach includes periodic monitoring of the development and evolution of cognitive and non-cognitive psychiatric symptoms and their response to intervention. This approach includes the education of the patient's families about the illness, its treatment and sources of additional care and support and t he advising for the need for financial and legal planning (Jones, 2006).

Another approach for treatment of dementia is based on Specific Psychotherapy such as taking a behavior oriented treatment approach where the antecedents and consequences of problem behaviors are identified and are evaluated to reduce the frequency of behaviors. This is done through the direction of changes in the environment that alter these antecedents and consequences (Barnham & Cherny, 2011).


Barnham, K., & Cherny, R. (2011). Metal chaperones: A holistic approach to the treatment of…

Sources Used in Documents:


Barnham, K., & Cherny, R. (2011). Metal chaperones: A holistic approach to the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's & Dementia, 7(4), e54. doi:10.1016/j.jalz.2011.09.221

CDC - Facts about Autism Spectrum Disorders - NCBDDD,. (2015). Facts About ASDs. Retrieved 27 July 2015, from

Corcoran, M. Neurocognitive disorder (NCD).

Corrada, M., Brookmeyer, R., Paganini-Hill, A., Berlau, D., & Kawas, C. (2010). Dementia incidence continues to increase with age in the oldest old: The 90+ study. Annals Of Neurology, 67(1), 114-121. doi:10.1002/ana.21915,. (2015). Causes, Complications, and Consequences of Neurodevelopmental Disorders. Retrieved 25 July 2015, from

Cite this Document:

"Autism And Dementia Description Of Autism Spectrum" (2015, July 27) Retrieved August 10, 2022, from

"Autism And Dementia Description Of Autism Spectrum" 27 July 2015. Web.10 August. 2022. <>

"Autism And Dementia Description Of Autism Spectrum", 27 July 2015, Accessed.10 August. 2022,

Related Documents
Analyzing Psychopharmacology Website Analysis
Words: 1428 Length: 3 Pages Topic: Information Technology Paper #: 29284456

Psychopharmacology Website: The British Association of Psychopharmacology (BAP)(n.d.) is a scholarly society and enlisted philanthropy. It advances exploration and instruction in psychopharmacology and related zones, and unites individuals in the educated community, well-being administrations, and industry. Shaped in 1974, it is the biggest such national relationship in Europe, and the second biggest in the world. The website has a lot of different content available that would help me in my coursework.