Sophie's World

Published: 2021-09-14 13:55:10
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Sophie's World

"Sophie, Sophie? Honey, please look at me....." Sophie's mother bends down to gather the scraps of paper off of the floor, only to be assaulted by a shrill scream and a flailing of arms from her daughter.
With a deep sigh, Sophie's mother releases the scraps so that they flutter to the floor which brings a squeal of delight as Sophie begins to rock rhythmically and tear the paper into even more pieces.
This routine is daily for mother and daughter, even though the setting and situations may vary from time to time; the communication gap between them is always the same frustrating scenario.
Sophie is 9 years old and it is unlikely that she will ever reach the developmental milestones of other children her age. The reason for this is because; Sophie was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) at the age of 4 years.
ASD covers a wide range of disorders that hinder a person's ability to communicate verbally and non-verbally, to grasp the concept of social interaction and its cues, and to reach normal educational goals. ASD is just a part of a bigger group of disorders, called pervasive developmental disorders.
A child with ASD may show signs as early as 16 months old. Some indications of ASD include poor eye contact, unresponsiveness to name, or absence of all verbal communication. Other signs may include children engaging in repetitive behaviors such as body rocking, and obsessive lining up of toys or objects, while others may demonstrate ASD by staring at an object for hours on end. Self-abusive behaviors are also evident in some cases where children have been observed. This includes biting or scratching themselves or banging their heads on hard surfaces. In addition, it is noted that children ASD have no empathy, which is sad because empathy is a way for a child to relate to thoughts, and emotions of another person which helps in the bonding experience as well as personal growth. Other symptoms result in children with ASD not being able to interact with others while playing. Language appears to be the biggest challenge for children with ASD. Some may have relatively large vocabularies, while others may not speak at all. Still there are some who will affect or use a "cartoon voice" or a "robotic voice" and will only communicate in this way. Children with ASD have been known to repeat words or phrases spoken to them by others. For instance, when asked, "Would you like some ice cream?" the child may say "Some ice cream" in response to the question instead of answering it. Children with ASD often have difficulty with the semantic parts of language especially with abstract words like vague or curious etc. They also do not know how to interpret slang phrases because they are unable to tell the difference in taking them literal or not.

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