Einstein a Case Study for Asperger’s Christina Parker PSY 410 February 6, 2012 Dr. Melda Jones Einstein a Case Study for Asperger’s Mental illness has existed as long as humans have, but only in the last hundred years or so have psychologist started to truly understand mental illness. There is still much, that is unknown about mental illness and human behavior. One mental disorder that was added to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) in 1994 is Asperger’s Disorder. This disorder is usually diagnosed in early childhood, but in Albert Einstein’s time Asperger’s Disorder was unknown.
Einstein had many of the diagnostic criteria for Asperger’s Disorder but was not diagnosed. Einstein was quiet and withdrawn, but had an amazing mind for mathematics. In comparison, Temple Grandin was diagnosed with Asperger’s Disorder and has many of the same mannerisms as Einstein. Overview of Asperger’s Disorder’s History Dr. Hans Asperger studied children that acted differently from others in the 1940s. Dr. Asperger called these children “Little Professors” because they were so interesting. In 1980s Dr. Lorna Wing called children with Asperger’s (AS) high-functioning autism individuals.
In 1994, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) added AS. Asperger’s Syndrome (ASD) is a distinct group of neurological conditions characterized by greater or lesser degrees of impairment in language and communication skills with repetitive or restrictive patterns of thoughts and behaviors. There is no known cause or treatment for AS. The parents of children with AS often by or before the child’s third birthday sense that something is amiss in his or her child’s behavior or developmental skills. Two out of 10,000 children statistically diagnosed with AS or ASD.
Boys are three to four times more likely than girls to have AS or ASD. The children exhibit delayed psychomotor skills (crawling and walking), and have problems with communicating and socializing with other children. AS children have an obsession with one topic or interests excluding other topics and interests. AS children have a formal speech that lacks rhythm and modulation. AS children appear clumsy when they walk and may have delayed motor skills (catching a ball, pedaling a bike, and other skills). The cause of AS or ASD is unknown but is thought to be genetic because AS tends to run in families.
The part of the brain that controls social behavior functions differently or develops differently from other children without AS. The part of the brain that controls body movements and balance are also different in AS children than other children. ASD is a high-functioning autism disorder. Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome Explained There is no known cause of autism. Research today is using MRI imaging to determine how the Autism brain is structured. Dr. Grandin explains her condition like this: The brain is an office; the frontal lobe is the office manager.
The other compartments of the brain are like the many departments in an office. The office departments do not communicate well between the other offices such as sales, product development, management, and so on. The autistic brain has to be understood and trained in a way that works best for the individual. No one treatment works for every autistic individual. Finding what motivates the individual’s fear and helping the individual to overcome or change the environment to a less chaotic one will help the individual to learn and progress. Autistic individuals do not understand facial expressions or tone changes in voices.
Behavioral issues such as defecation and twitching are common with Asperger’s and Autism. Individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome are high-end functioning Autistic individuals. To understand Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome, Dr. Grandin suggests that people move away from language. The nonverbal child does not understand language. The nonverbal child is sensory-based and has a complex disorder that is based on sights, sounds, smells, and touch. Cultivating the way the individual’s method of thinking will prevent fear that causes anxieties will help the individual progress.
Autistic individuals have high IQs and the ability to concentrate on one subject for a long time. Most autistic individuals are gifted in math, sciences, computers, tables, astrology, and other nonsocial areas that rely on thinking skills. A Look at Einstein and Grandin Albert Einstein Albert Einstein was born in 1879 to Hermann and Pauline Einstein (a middle-class German-Jewish family). Einstein scarcely spoke and was quiet more than backward as a young child. His sister remembers his concentration and ability to build tall houses and multiple storied levels of playing card houses.
At age 4 or 5 Einstein marveled at how a magnetic compass needle invariably swung northward. This caused Einstein to conclude that something invisible was behind everything sparking his interest in Physics at a young age. As late as age nine Einstein was hesitant to speak, and did so pausing to select his words carefully. His parents feared that he was below average in intelligence. At the age of 12 Einstein’s love for mathematics and physics was sparked by a booklet on Euclidian Plane Geometry. This booklet proved to Einstein that there was a lucidity and certainty in theory and made an impression on him permanently.
School depended on memorization and arbitrary authority of the teachers and faculty and was not conducive to Einstein’s way of learning. At 15 Einstein quit school and moved to Italy with his family where his family was trying to start a business. He studied Mathematics, Physics, and Philosophy at home. His uncle, an engineer, and a medical student who ate with his family once a week are credited with stimulating Einstein’s young mind. Was Einstein’s brain different? Einstein died in 1955 and gave his brain to science.
A pathologist named Thomas Harvey quickly preserved his brain, and made samples, and sections. Pathologists Harvey concluded that other than Einstein’s brain seeming smaller than most brains, his was not unusual. Sandra F. Witelson and colleagues studied Einstein’s brain again in 1999, and discovered that it lacked a wrinkle found in other brains (the parietal operculum), and other regions on each side of Einstein’s brain appeared to be larger and unusual features in the inferior parietal lobes thought to be the area of visual imagery and mathematical thinking.
This concludes that Einstein’s brain was more equipped by this region than most individuals. Does this prove or disprove that Einstein had Asperger’s? There is no conclusive historical evidence to determine if Einstein had Asperger’s. What we do know is Einstein was capable of deep concentration, and had perseverance. He graduated without distinction, his learning style and the school learning system of his time did not get along. He sought physics because he could seek out paths that led to the depths. In other words Einstein preferred to be free to think on the invisible things behind things.
It was Einstein’s ability to think deeply on physics that put him first in the race to the theory in relativity. Einstein made friends with colleagues like Marcel Grossman, Michele Besso, Paul Ehrenfest, and Freidrich Adler. His wife Mileva Maric was the only female in his physics class. Even though Einstein renounced his German citizenship when he left Germany for Italy, he could not resist the invitation to Berlin’s Prussian Academy of Sciences, he had no teaching duties and access to the greatest scientific minds of his day. Fame in physics starved and destroyed his marriage to his wife Mileva, and then divorced in 1919.
The same year of his divorce Einstein married his cousin whom he had an affair with since 1914 and settled with Elsa Lowenthal and her two daughters until his death in 1955. Einstein as a young boy, a young teen, a young man, and an older man (Image © The Albert Einstein Archives, The Jewish National ; University Library, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. ) Temple Grandin Dr. Temple Grandin was thought to be different by her Mother from a very early age. At two Dr. Grandin could not speak and exhibited behavioral issues. Her Father and consulted doctors wanted to put Dr. Grandin in an institution. Dr.
Grandin’s Mother would not have her daughter put in an institution. Instead, Dr. Grandin’s Mother sent her daughter to private schools and to private speech therapy. Dr. Grandin was teased as a child in school. Dr. Temple states that early intervention is vital to best outcomes in autistic children. According to Dr. Grandin there are three types of Autism thinkers: Visual, Pattern, and Word. Visual thinkers are terrible at algebra and good at geometry. Pattern thinkers have difficulty with reading. Word thinkers are good with facts in favorite subjects. Dr. Grandin thinks in pictures, sees a series of slides like a search engine.
During her lecture Dr. Grandin was tired from air travel and this caused her to lose train of thought if movement or noises were made by audience. Dr. Grandin explained that she cannot screen out the sensory issues that trigger her distractions. Dr. Grandin admits to having panic attacks, and anxiety. Anti-depressants help autistic individuals overcome anxiety, panic attacks, and OCD issues. Dr. Grandin correlates animal behaviors and fears with autism and how people handle animals also can be used to handle autistic individuals. When Dr. Grandin was born her parents were told she had infantile schizophrenia.
Since her birth two Doctors one in the United States named Dr. Leo Canner and one in Canada named Dr. Asperger began studying children who displayed certain characteristics: no facial expression, lack of social skills, the ability to concentrate on one subject, and certain other emotional, cognitive, and behavioral components. Dr. Grandin was born in Boston, Mass. on August 29, 1947. Dr. Grandin has earned degrees from Franklin Pierce College, Arizona State University, University of Illinois, and has earned Honorary Doctorates from McGill University, University of Illinois, and Duke University.
The United States and Canada Meat Plants use Dr. Grandin’s equipment designs developed for Animal Welfare Guidelines. Dr. Grandin’s focus of study is in alleviating anxiety of intense fear and hypersensitivities to sound in Human and Animal populations. Dr. Grandin wrote autobiographies of her life with autism, which amazed the autistic community (Thinking in Pictures and Other Reports from My Life with Autism- 1995, and Emergence: Labeled Autistic – 1986). Dr. Grandin, has acquired many awards, lectures all over the United States, was inducted into the Cowgirl Hall of Fame and is a member of the board of directors Autism Society of America.
Dr. Grandin has developed her own website: www. grandin. com to communicate with people on the subject of autism, and animal handling. Humane groups recognize Dr. Grandin’s work to alleviate animal fears, and her biography featured on HBO has won several Emmy Awards, a Golden Globe, and Peabody Award in 2011. Dr. Grandin has written several books, chapter books, journals, and other publications proving that people with Asperger’s and Autism can succeed. Conclusion There is so much that humanity does not know about human behavior and mental illness, but psychology continues to make advancements in the area.
Asperger’s Disorder is just one example of how psychology has advanced. In Einstein’s time there was not a name for his “weird quirks”, but by the time Temple Grandin was born these similar “quirks” were known as Asperger’s Disorder. Einstein was brilliant in mathematics and similar fields of study, but could not form true intimate bonds with other people. Dr. Grandin was also brilliant but in another area of study and she also cannot form true intimate bonds with people.