Monday, December 31, 2012

Rain Men across Cultures

Rain man, a famous movie character, is an autistic savant who has autism, shows little emotional expression and avoids eye contact, does not like changes and follows restrict routines, but also has superb recall and extreme skills in mathematics with little understanding of the subject matter or currency.
Rain Man has reduced the misconceptions about autism and improved public awareness of the failure of many agencies to accommodate people with autism and make use of the abilities they do have, regardless of whether they are savant skills. Today, the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has become a common disease all over the world. However, people in different countries and cultures still has different views about autism.
ASD in South Korean
The purpose of the article “Korean Culture and Autism Spectrum Disorders” is to explore the potential influences of Korean culture on ASD identification, diagnosis, assessment and treatment. Korean attitudes towards ASD and child education and development style are factors that can affect the service provide by the clinic and other social service.
In South Korean, autism is still an uncommon disease. Some autistic children may be diagnosed with reactive attachment disorder (RAD), caused by a mother’s absence of attachment to their children. As Korean become one of the largest economies in the world, modern parents are considered no longer know how to raise children properly, so that children will be lack of love. Unlike autism RAD is treatable and not a genetic condition. And they attribute children’s disabilities to poor prenatal practices which may negatively affect the health and intelligence of babies. Thus, it seems that mothers should be responsible for “RAD” in Korean. However, some other authors argued that mothers of children autism should receive appropriate mental health care, because they suppress emotion and handle stress more than do women in other countries.
The lack of a formal support system for disability children is also a problem. Child psychiatry in Korea is relatively young, there are only a few centers in Korea that provide assessment, treatment and service for children with ASD, but some websites of several academic and professional organizations provide information and guidance for parents to help them take care of their autistic children.
        Korean schools emphasize structure and routine within the classroom, with few alternations in daily schedules, which suit some high functioning ASD children. However, there is also a hypothesis that Korean teaching customs, such as emphasizing the teacher’s authority, extrinsic motivation, completion of worksheets, and clear separation of playtime and work time, negatively influence the development of children’s social skills.
ASD in Nigeria
Comorbidity of ASD and intellectual disability has been established to be common in Africa. According to Bakare et al, the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) among Nigerian children with intellectual disability has been on the increase during recent three decades. There is variation in prevalence of ASD across cultures and regions.
Unlike Korea, autism is a common disease in Nigeria, and had been documented to occur co morbidly with intellectual disability. However, in Korea, the majority of children with autism had average or above average IQs, and 12% had superior IQs. There are more clinics and care centers that providing special education and modification to children with disabilities in Nigeria than in Korea.
The large-scale epidemiological studies of ASD are needed in both these two countries.

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