This research aims to establish the relationship between autism among the school going children in the U.S.A and the existence of mathematic genus among them. The prevalence of diagnosed autism has rapidly increased over the last decades among U.S children. It is supposed in the proposed research to detect some connections between mathematical skills and autism.
In general, the first description of autism was in the 1930s as a clinical disorder with impairment characteristics in social interaction and communication, and patterns of interests and behaviors that are restricted and stereotyped. Autism is a neurobehavioral condition, which includes deficiencies in social interaction, language development and skills of communication in combination with rigid and repetitive behaviors. It is worth noticing that there is a possibility of its coexistence with mental illness like schizophrenia and manic depression (Kanner, 369).
As per the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics, children identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in America are about 1 in 88. The prevalence increases in 40 years to up to a ten-fold. Through improved diagnosis and awareness, there is a partial explanation of this growth, given via a careful research. Again, the studies show that autism is less common in girls in comparison with boys with the ratio of 1:4 respectively. The expected number of boys is 1 out of 54 and girls, 1 in 252 diagnosed with autism in the United States. The research also show that more children diagnosed with autism as compared to juvenile diabetes at an early year, AIDS or cancer combined. Therefore, statistically, in the U.S., the effects of ASD sums up to over 2 million and tens of millions worldwide (CDC, 1).
1.1 Objectives of the Study
The findings of this research will assist the U.S.A government and stakeholders in the education sector evaluate the effectiveness of the preventive measures. This will also be of great value in order to prevent the spread of autism. This could manifest itself through a reduction in the prevalence rate. The outcomes of this study will also help establish the relationship between autism spectrum and genius in mathematics.
2.0 Literature Review
The autism disorder is diagnosed in early childhood, its presence being throughout the life, as it becomes milder at an old age. There is trouble in communication and understanding of other people’s thinking and feeling for children with this kind of disorder. Due to this, they tend to have difficulties in self-expression; either with words, gestures, facial expressions or even through touches (Kanner, 369). Nevertheless, children with autism spectrum disorder are much more likely to be savant by showing extraordinary skills in particular areas like Mathematics. However, they it is difficult for them with social interaction and communication (James, 56). To put it another way, the study suggests that autistic kids with mathematical skills of above average level have slightly different brain organization than those without autism, since not everyone with autism happens to be a math whiz.
As indicated by Snyder (470), the abnormal minds take a lot of insights in appreciating the assembling of the parts of the brain. Low intelligence, substantial learning disabilities, literalness and a inflexible persistence on the same things are some of the classic examples of autism. There is no creativity in autistic savants, which are known for their extraordinary mental feats. However, due to privileged access to non-conscious processes, the autistic savants tend to adopt a form of mimicry.
The remarkable talent, found so frequently, is the most remarkable of all the autism features. The availability of extraordinary ability in mathematics, music, art or any savant skills has become a stock in trade in popular accounts of autism. This state of fascination shows that there is a scrutiny of an eccentric scientist or artists with autistic traits. There is some uniqueness of these people as exceptional abilities in both academic and visual skills are seen in these individuals (Gevarter et al., 225). Those, having average to above average intellectual capabilities, are about 40%. Individuals with autism are having significant disability and are not in a position of living independently. About 25% of individuals with the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is nonverbal, although they can learn through other means of communication.
2.1 The Correlation between Autistic Disorder and Genius Mathematicians
It is not challenging to discover people who may have had Asperger syndrome in the history of mathematics. Nonetheless, without the correct kind of fact-based information, we cannot be sure whether each person acquired the syndrome or not. Among the females, it is much less compared to the males as it is a struggle in finding a clear case of a woman mathematician. Loddo described Mathematics as dehumanized and decontextualized (59). Since the individuals with ASD experience difficulties with people and context, they tend to understand the human world by using mathematical intuition. In most cases it leads them to failing results. Bringing the world under the control of pure reason for avoiding an understandable and unmanageable emotion is the most important wish of persons with ASD. Since such persons are attracted to mathematical sciences, the nature of mathematicians is creating order where previously chaos seemed to reign (Fitzgerald, 304).
The formation of a link between autism and mathematical talent comes as no surprise in the mathematical world. Though, in its acknowledgement, there may be major practical concerns for an education and an occupational choice. At school, autism is regarded as a learning disability, and its positive sides recognized. Children with mild autism and with talent in mathematics tend to have difficulties with other subjects (James, 57).
James describes the disorder as of profuse plus in others, even though it is inadequate in many ways. He argues that the majority struggles in life with only a minority triumphing. There have been great contributions to mathematical research, made by gifted individuals with some degrees of autism (57). The creativity associated with autism is outstanding, mainly when combined with high intelligence in the arts and sciences.
The following hypotheses are formulated for this study, based on the research objectives.
iii. H30: There is a high probability of mathematically genius children, possessing autistic disorder
The research adopted a descriptive strategy. There was an application of both quantitative and qualitative research approaches in undertaking this study. The independent and dependent variables were derived, based on the research objectives. Dependent variables were: ASD Prevalence rate, mathematic genius and autism. While the independent variables were: Age, sex, and race of the children, and the preventive measures adopted such as an initial screening, campaigns and awareness, and impacts of researchers, carried out by CDC(Centre for Disease Control) and IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Educations Act). The study data source was secondary based on the studies, researchers, and reports of CDC and IDEA.
4.0 Data Analysis and Results
Data were analyzed grounded on the quantitative and qualitative methods. The findings from the CDC research of 2016 and the annual report of IDEA of 2016 regarding the status of autism among school going children were given in the form of tables, graphs, and pie charts. However, research findings on the relationship between autism and mathematical genius were analyzed with a special emphasis on the dominant thematic content. Table 4.1 represents the IDEA report of 2014 indicating the percentages of the population, ranging from 6 to 21 years with their disability category.
Table 4.1: Disability Effect on Population. Source IDEA Report 2014
From the table 4.1, it can be deduced that the size of the population, affected by the autism, is in the incremental trend within the duration under consideration. In 2005 only 0.3% of the USA population, making up citizens in the age bracket 6 to 21 years, was affected by autism, while in 2014 the number had increased by almost three folds. This indicates that the prevalence rate of the autism has been on the increasing trend and the preventive measures have not been sufficient to a great extent.
The finding in table 4.2 below illustrates the results regarding the prevalence of autism in USA school going children between the ages of 6 to 21 years about their races. The finding demonstrates that most affected race was Asian, whereas the least affected were Native American or Alaska Natives. This implies that more preventives measures should be considered in the Asian competition if the rising prevalence rate curtailed.
Table 4.2: Disability Effect on the Race. Source IDEA Report 2014
According to the CDC report of 2016 concerning the autism prevalence, it shows an upward trend as illustrated in Table 4.3. The results indicate that we have 1 autism case in every 68 children in 2016. As reported by 2012 data, 1 autism case in every 68 children in 2014 as indicated by 2010 data, 1 autism case in every 88 children in 2012 as indicated by 2008 data, 1 autism case in every 110 children in 2010 as indicated by 2006 data. Further, it shows 1 autism case in every 125 children in 2008 as indicated by 2004 data. 1 autism case in every 150 children in 2006 as reported by 2002 data and finally 1 autism case in every 150 children in 2004 as indicated by 2000 data. This depicts a worrying trend in the prevalence rate of autism. Moreover, this further illustrates that preventive measures, which have been in operation for close to a decade, have not been effective enough in controlling the prevalence rate.
Table 4.3: Autism Prevalence Rate. Source CDC Report 2016
The figure 4.1 below further illustrates the findings in a graphical form. In this case 1 represents 2012, while 7 represents 2000.
Figure 4.1: 1 Autism Case in every value in Y axis
With regard to the relationship between autistic and intelligence, the findings show us that there exist substantial connections. In the book Autistic genius by Michael Fitzgerald, the author states that autistic intelligence has a real creativity and for any success in science or art- autism seems to be essential (McClure). Oliver Sacks further suggests that Bill Gates, Einstein, and even Wittgenstein had autistic traits, which immensely contributed to their male intelligence.
Last but not least, there is one finding by Kuruvilla Carole concerning the possibility of mathematically genius children with developing autistic disorders. In particular, the researcher pointed to an old Indiana prodigy of 14 years, who turned out to be diagnosed with autism at the age of two years (Kuruvilla).
To sum it up, the findings of the studies under consideration have helped us to make the following conclusions in terms of the above-formulated objectives and hypotheses. In particular, the annual prevalence rate of the autism is on the rise because out of only 68 children of U.S.A one having has Autisms Syndrome Disorder. This is confirmed by CDC and IDEAS reports. The findings have also supported the fact of the existence of association and relationship between autism and being mathematically genius. Moreover, the reports indicate that the preventive measure programs, which have been spear-headed by CDC and IDEAS, have not achieved much success. This was because of the rise of new cases of ASD. The results, therefore, require realigning the possible strategies in combat with autism. However, the people with Autism can still achieve their highest pinnacle of academic success due to this disorder.
CDC. “Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder Among Children Aged 8 Years—Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, 11 sites, United States, 2010.” MMWR, vol. 63, 2014, pp. 1-21.
Fitzgerald, Michael. “Autism and Creativity: Is There a Link between Autism in Men and Exceptional?” Brunner-Routledge, vol. 304, 2003.
Gevarter, Cindy, et al. “Mathematics Interventions for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Systematic Review.” Review Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, vol. 3, no. 3, 2016, pp. 224-238.
James, Ioan. “Autism and Mathematical Talent.” The Best Writing on Mathematics 2011,
Kanner, Leo. “The Autistic Child.” The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, vol. 152, no. 5, 1971, pp. 369-370.
Loddo, Silvio. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, vol. 32, no. 1, 2002, pp. 59-62.
McClure, I. “Autism and Creativity: Is there a Link between Autism in Men and Exceptional Ability?” BMJ, vol. 328, no. 7448, 2004, pp. 1139-1139.
Nevison, Cynthia D. “A comparison of temporal trends in United States autism prevalence to trends in suspected environmental factors.” Environmental Health, vol. 13, no. 1, 2014.
Snyder, Allan. “Autistic genius?” Nature, vol. 428, no. 6982, 2004, pp. 470-471.
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