MAKE A DECISION: Do you think Harrison has Autism Spectrum Disorder?

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Investigate Development Case: Theory of Mind/Autism.

Why? Give reasons for why you chose the way you did. Consider the following factors in your reasons:

Theory of Mind
Harrison’s play behavior
His parent’s separation
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PSY 1821 Case Development Rubric 2.1PSY 1821 Case Development Rubric 2.1CriteriaRatingsPtsThis criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeContent20.0 to >15.0 ptsAdvancedAll key components of the Case Development questions are addressed. Proper terminology to describe concepts in the vignette are used (3 or more terms).15.0 to >10.0 ptsProficientMost key components of the Case Development questions are addressed. Proper terminology to describe concepts in the vignette are used (2 terms).10.0 to >5.0 ptsDevelopingSome key components of the Case Development questions are addressed. Proper terminology to describe concepts in the vignette are used (1 term).5.0 to >0.0 ptsPoorFew or no key components of the Case Development questions are addressed. Proper terminology to describe concepts in the vignette are not used.0.0 ptsNot Present20.0 ptsThis criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeFocus10.0 to >9.0 ptsAdvancedWriting remains focused on the topic assigned throughout, bringing each paragraph back to the thesis and making connections to sources. Paper also meets all length requirements (250 words or more).9.0 to >8.0 ptsProficientWriting mostly focuses on the topic assigned but misses some connections between sources and thesis. Paper meets at least 80 percent of the length requirement.8.0 to >7.0 ptsDevelopingWriting focuses on topic throughout but loses focus or digresses in individual paragraphs. Paper meets at least 70 percent of the length requirement.7.0 to >1.0 ptsPoorWriting struggles to focus on the topic in individual paragraphs and in the paper as a whole. Paper meets at least 65 percent of the length requirement.1.0 to >0 ptsNot PresentWriting was not submitted, is about a topic other than the one assigned, or meets less than 65 percent of the length requirement.10.0 ptsThis criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeAPA Style10.0 to >9.0 ptsAdvancedAssignment correctly follows APA formatting, including a title page, abstract, header, page numbers, and reference page. Sources are cited correctly in the document.9.0 to >8.0 ptsProficientAssignment is mostly correctly formatted and/or sources are cited, but there are a few errors in the format.8.0 to >7.0 ptsDevelopingAssignment exhibits many errors in APA formatting and/or sources are cited, but there are several errors in the format.7.0 to >0.0 ptsPoorAPA formatting is attempted, but several elements are missing or incorrect, an/or some of the sources are not cited and/or the format is incorrect.0.0 ptsNot PresentSources are not cited at all/format is not correct and/or APA is not attempted.10.0 ptsThis criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeSpelling and Grammar10.0 to >5.0 ptsAdvancedSpelling and grammar are correct. Sentences are complete, clear, and concise. Paragraphs contain appropriately varied sentence structures.5.0 to >3.0 ptsProficientThere are some spelling and grammar errInstructions:

Investigate Development Case: Theory of Mind: Autism


Criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) – adapted from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th edition (DSM5):

Lack of social communication and social interaction (e.g. not turn-taking in conversations, not initiating/responding to social interactions, poor eye contact, lack of non-verbal communication, problems developing and understanding relationships, difficulties in making friends, and no interest in other children).

Restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior or interests (e.g. lining up toys or repeating words that someone says to them, eating the same food each day, insistence on keeping routines the same, distress at small changes, strong responses to some sounds or textures).

Symptoms start in the early developmental stage of the child.

Theory of mind

People with autism sometimes have difficultly comprehending when others do not know something. By not understanding that other people think differently than themselves, many autistic people have problems relating socially and communicating to other people (Autism Speaks, 2017).

The term “theory of mind” was originally coined by Premack and Woodruff (1978) and is described as the ability to assign mental states to yourself and other people. This is used to explain and understand the behavior of those around us in everyday life.

Wimmer et al. (1983) found that almost all children over the age of 4 years passed a task assessing theory of mind. In contrast, a study by Baron-Cohen et al. (1985) found that only 20% of autistic children were able to pass this task, despite having mental ages over 4 years. Although some children with autism develop a theory of mind (Tager-Flusberg, 2007), there is little doubt that children with autism have difficulty attributing mental states to themselves or to other people (Happe et al. 1995).

The Sally-Anne test is a psychological test that is used to check people’s understanding of others’ beliefs and points of views, also known as Theory of Mind (Baron-Cohen et al., 1985).

Diagnosis and Misdiagnosis

Boys are 4.5 times more likely than girls to be identified with ASD (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2017).

Barbu et al. (2011) studied preschoolers’ outdoor nursery play and found that preschool boys played alone more frequently than preschool girls, and that this difference was especially marked at 3-4 years.

The latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1 in 68 children has been identified with ASD in the United States. This is an increase of 30 percent since 2008, 64 percent since 2006, and 123 percent since 2002 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2016).

Early diagnosis of ASD is important so that appropriate social and language treatments can be implemented. However, the period of greatest diagnostic uncertainty is probably toddlerhood. Turner and Stone (2007) found that over 30 percent of children diagnosed as autistic at age two, no longer fit the diagnosis at age four.

Habits and Social Situations

Shy children approach socially challenging situations more passively than other children their age and experience less success in achieving social goals during elementary school (Stewart & Rubin, 1995). Furthermore, shy children are at risk for social and emotional adjustment problems including poor peer relations, depression, and anxiety (Chronis-Tuscano et al. 2009; Hirshfield-Becker et al. 2007; Rubin et al. 1995).

Poor social interactions may lead to poor outcomes for children, including a cycle of peer rejection, reinforcement of poor social skills, and/or fewer opportunities to learn the rules that guide social play (Walker et al. 2013).

Vegetable intake is generally low among children who appear to be especially fussy during the pre-school years (Caton et al. 2014). Wright et al. (2007) concluded that the percentage of young children in the US who are picky eaters and have poor appetites is so high that “… it could reasonably be said that eating-behavior problems are a normal feature of toddler life”.

Children who are exposed to parental conflict are at risk for adjustment problems, including academic, emotional, and social (Kelly & Emery, 2003; Troxel & Matthews, 2004).

You will Investigate the Evidence from Harrison’s life and from his family. You may also continue to Consult the Research to learn more about Autism and consider the facts in Harrison’s case.

Email Conversation

September 14, 2014, 09:36 a.m.


E-mail: No subject

Hey Jackie,

Oh my goodness, what a week! I wish you were here, it’s been so upsetting. We got a referral to a psychologist from our family doctor and she came and tested Harrison and said he has autism! How ridiculous!

I know a friend of a friend’s son who has autism, but he has some very challenging behaviors that are nothing like Harrison’s. Harrison is so shy and he does have some quirky habits, but he doesn’t have autism! He gets very clammed up when strangers are around and he was like that with the psychologist. I thought Harrison was just a late bloomer, but the doctor wanted to run a few other tests. I really didn’t think much more of it and I definitely didn’t think we’d be handed such a serious diagnosis. I’m so worried about what this means for Harrison.

Anyways, I didn’t like this psychologist and so I’ve asked for a second opinion. Harrison is a little late with his speech development, but Eddie was the same. I even told them about the funny things Eddie used to do when he was little, imaginary friends, and all sorts! I told them that Eddie grew out of them and that Harrison would do the same, but they didn’t want to listen to what I thought.

Other news, since the separation Dennis and I are trying to remain on civil terms, but we are both still so angry that we can hardly talk without fighting. I know the boys miss their Dad, but it is definitely better this way. We try to make sure that the impact on them is minimal, but it’s just so hard. I think perhaps Harrison has been affected by it more than Eddie and that explains a lot of his shyness and reluctance to socialize at daycare with new children.

I’ll call you at the weekend to talk more and find out your news.


Nell x x x

Interview with Brother

Harrison is fun and I’m his favorite person! He doesn’t really like playing with people he doesn’t know. He’s shy. His favorite toys are cars. He doesn’t like racing them with me and hates it when I make loud noises. He likes to line them up when we are finished and he gets mad at me if I mess them up.

Harrison doesn’t talk to or play with people he doesn’t know. He just pretends like he doesn’t hear them! He talks to me though! Harrison hates it when I shout or do anything loud. He gets real upset and yells.

Yeah, but he doesn’t like it when you’re sad. I cut my finger yesterday and it was bleeding everywhere. I was crying because it hurt so much. Harrison saw then got upset, but then he just walked away back to his cars.

Day Care Report

Bumble Bee

Name: Harrison

Day: October 8, 2015

What he ate: (yogurt, blueberries, cheese sandwich)

Harrison had the same lunch he eats every day and still refuses to eat any vegetables or try any other foods.

Play: Harrison is still not playing with the other children, I’m sure this will come with time. He seemed happily occupied with his cars which have been brought in from home. He has been more settled at daycare since having the cars. Harrison got very upset when the fire alarm went off in the building and it took us a long time to calm him down afterwards.

Other notes: Harrison is still very new at daycare and settling in is taking him a little while. He seems to be more comfortable than last week, though still very shy. He has taken a shine to one of our workers, Louise, so she is spending more time with him to try to help him settle and join in.

Interview with babysitter

Q. Describe your afternoon babysitting Harrison and Eddie.

A. Harrison doesn’t really like it when his mom goes out. He gets quite upset. He’s better now than he used to be, now that he knows me a bit more. But it’s taken a while for him to trust me. Harrison doesn’t really want me to play with him. I mean he’s happy playing with his cars and his brother. Sometimes he’ll come and sit on the sofa while Eddie and I read a book.

Q. What’s it like when you talk to Harrison?

A. Harrison doesn’t really talk very much. He does seem to understand though. I hear him talking to his brother and Mom sometimes – he’s just a quiet, very shy kid.

Q. How is Harrison’s eye contact?

A. Harrison won’t hold eye contact for very long and he’s always holding his head down when you try and take a picture. He’s the complete opposite of Eddie who’s always posing for the camera!

Sally Ann Test

Evergreen Center for Psychological Evaluation

Patient’s Name: Harrison Lowe

Age: Four

Sex: Male

Referral date: July 1, 2015

Test administered by: Doctor Juan Damingo

Date tested: August 11, 2015

Test description: Sally Anne Test

Behavioral observation: Following the conclusion of the Sally Anne Test, doctor Damingo asked Harrison, “After Sally returns, where will she look for her marble?” Harrison correctly answered, “in her own basket,” accurately depicting comprehension of Sally’s perspective and demonstrating theory of mind.


Pass (checked)


This document is confidential.

ors. Some sentence level errors are present as well. Paragraphs contain some varied sentence structures.3.0 to >2.0 ptsDevelopingSpelling and grammar errors distract from meaning. Paragraphs are poorly formed.2.0 to >0.0 ptsPoorMultiple spelling and grammar errors. Sentences are incomplete or unclear.0.0 ptsNot Present10.0 pts

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