Autism: What Is It?

Kelsey Freeman

ENG 131.01

Professor Lucas

4 May 2016





Autism is a mental disability that is developed and diagnosed in childhood years. It is characterized by difficulty in forming relationships with others, speech difficulty (which could be verbal or nonverbal), habits such as: morning routine, eating habit, learning techniques…etc. Autism is mostly caused by genes and environmental factors influencing early brain development. However, there are a number of ways autism is caused. Other ways autism is caused are illnesses in pregnancy or other difficulties during a pregnancy, and periods of oxygen deprivation to the baby’s brain.

Throughout high school, I developed a strong bond with special needs children. I was around them almost every day because my mother became an exceptional children teacher. I would visit the class frequently to see what the kids were up to and how they were doing. I attended many events with the students such as: Special Olympics, field trips with the class and out of school functions like birthday parties. Though I did not understand why children and adults had to develop disabilities or why people had to make fun of them, I had to realize that is just the way it is.

A freshmen boy entered into the school as a freshmen. He gave an awesome vibe off that could turn anybody’s bad day into a good day. This boy stood out from the other student because he always had a smile on his face even when his situation was not the best. He ended up being my buddy at Special Olympics, we were only together for a short time but in that time he taught me so much. He taught me how to communicate with him, a little bit about his favorite things, and a little bit about his least favorite things. Children with autism can teach an individual so much about life, at least this boy did. This is when I realized that I wanted to further my research on autism and learn more about it.

The purpose of this Annotated Bibliography is to begin to do further research on and to stretch my interest a little farther. The bibliography includes a study researchers completed to urge greater attention on autistic children and their eating habits. This study goes more into detail about autistic children’s eating habits and a little about their likes and dislikes on certain textures and tastes. It also includes a biography by Michael Weinstein and his life with autism. In Michael’s biography, he tells about his diagnosis and how he managed through school. Lastly, it includes a research paper about interventions for young children with autism. This study gives a little information about how to reduce problem behavior and the development of different strategies. It also goes into a little bit of detail about the different types of interventions.

Furthering my research on autism has taught me things that I did not know before and made me want to continue my research even more. I will go on from here with the knowledge that I already have about this disability.


Annotated Bibliography

July “Autism-related Foods.” Autism Speaks. 7 July 2015. Web. 12 Apr. 2016

Researchers confirmed that narrow eating is common among autistic children. It increases stress in the families and also narrows what they eat as well. Fifty three children with autism and fifty eight children between the ages of three and eleven were placed in a study where parents completed a questionnaire that covered their children’s eating patterns and their food intake.


Weinstein, Michael. “Life With Autism – by Michael Weinstein.” Life With Autism – by Michael

Weinstein. Golden Hat Foundation, n.d. Web. 12 Apr. 2016. Website


Michael Weinstein was diagnosed with autism at the age of two. As he was diagnosed, he was classifies as “low functioning” meaning that he was unable to speak. As he got older, he went through speech therapy and occupational therapy. Unfortunately for him, neither of those benefited him. During school, he would hear other kids call him “retarded” or other names that were offending to him. At age eleven, he and his family moved to Austin, Texas so he could continue his education in a school where the teachers were better trained to fit his needs. Michael made new friends, more than he had ever had before. He then realized that he was not “retarded”, he went on through his high school career being placed in AP classes.

Michael wrote a message to the world that states: “People with Autism are not retarded. That means most nonverbal people understands what is said about them. I am so glad my parents took a chance and let me go to school in Texas. I will succeed in speaking. I now have a future. I now have a life worth living.”


Todd, and Phillip S. Strain. Problem Behavior Interventions for Young Children with Autism: A Research

Synthesis (n.d.): pag. Nov. 2002. Web. 12 Apr. 2016.
The approach to reducing problem behavior is documentation of behavior mechanisms that describe the relationship between environmental events, specific behaviors, and the development of different strategies. Interventions include strategies for preventing the behavior. Functional assessment is to identify and maintain behaviors. Comprehensive intervention is to address the behaviors performed by the child.


Life of a College Student

In Garrison Keillor’s writing “College Days”, Keillor tells about how he was a middle-class kid, a B student and how the University of Minnesota was the college that he wanted to go to. As Keillor always imagined of getting published in The New York Times, he still has all the first copies he bought. Keillor strived for what he wanted. He got a job at the radio station, paid some of his tuition and his books. As he explains everything he has done, it sounds like he had a pretty productive life, yet he worked for what he wanted. It makes one sit and think and appreciate what they have because they could be like Keillor and have to put in so much work as he did with the flood. Keillor’s “College Days” is an inspiring piece of writing.

A College Education Should Include Rooming with a Stranger

Kelsey Freeman

ENG 131.01

Professor Lucas

22 February 2016

A College Education Should Include Rooming with a Stranger

In “A College Education Should Include Rooming with a Stranger” Anna Altman discusses how rooming with somebody you do not know in college could have a very large effect on your college experience. Anna also states that “who you live with can affect your studying habits, drinking habits, and mood disorders” Although rooming with somebody who you know might seem preferable, Anna has a different outlook on it.  

Being a commuter, I did not get to experience this. However, many of my friends have and it has either been a good experience or a bad experience. They either get along with their roommate or they do not. Many of my friends came to Lenoir-Rhyne University not knowing anyone or who their roommate would be. They have greatly enjoyed the experience and their roommates turn out to be one of their closest friends. Missing out on this experience has had its ups and downs. I have not had to deal with living with somebody, which is always a plus. However, if I lived on campus, I feel as if I would know a lot more people and I would get to know a lot of people around campus that I do not know.

Anna has a really good point when she states that who you live with can affect your studying habits, your drinking habits and mood disorders. Some college students are just in college for the experience, meaning parties and the social interactions. Therefore, they can try and influence you to go to parties with them and get distracted because they do not care about their schooling as much as they do the social life. That can go along with the studying as well, they might distract you and influence you in doing other things. Speaking from experience, I have been trying to study for a test and a friend say “you can study later, the test isn’t until next week.” It seemed like a good idea, so me being me I fell for it. Little did I know, that test snuck up on me and I forgot to even study for it. After that, studying has been before anything else when it comes to school. Mood disorders also play a huge role in this as well. If you get a roommate that you just absolutely cannot stand then by all means, it can be stressful. Stress changes moods and can cause multiple other things such as: weight gain or weight loss, mood swings, depression, etc… These factors are not what students need in college, college is stressful enough without the stress of roommate discord.

In this article, the use of technology is also brought up. Having technology like Facebook and Skype has made the need to relate to somebody else less important. Students are using these techniques to communicate with relatives back home that they do not get to see. However, it has not cut back the desire to leave campus due to one being homesick. In this case a roommate that you are close to could be very helpful. It is always nice to have somebody to just listen to your problems and be there for you. Good roommates would come in very handy in this situation. Maybe one is going through the same thing, and needs somebody as well.

My last point is the how a roommate can influence you into not doing something that really interest you. For example, joining a sorority. I just joined a sorority and although I do not have a roommate, I still had those who tried to talk me out of it. At first I was thinking about not joining because I was listening to what everybody else wanted me to do. As I thought about it some more, I decided to do it because this is my college experience and I am going to make the best of it. That being said, if there is something a student wants to join, they should. They are doing it for themselves, not everybody else.

In conclusion, although I did not get to experience this myself because I do not live on campus, I understand completely where Anna Altman is coming from in this article. Friends have a huge effect on one another. I know that from experience, people try to influence you to do the best or the worst. College students need to guide each other in the right direction because hopefully we are all there for the same reason, to make something of ourselves. So rooming with a stranger might not seem like the best idea but could turn out to be the best friendship throughout your college career.

“Snow Day”

In Billy Collins poem “Snow Day”, he gives a brief description of what he woke up to and how everything outside looked. The poem made you imagine how the town looked, what he was going to do and how the children dressed while they played in the snow. In this poem, Billy Collins gave very realistic descriptions about the snow.

The line that stood out the most was “Today we woke up to a revolution of snow, its white flag waving over everything, the landscape vanished…” (stanza 1, line 1) This line stood out to me the most because as you are reading it, the picture of the town pops up in your head like you are experiencing it yourself. I think the author stated that particular line like that for that reason, so the people reading this poem could imagine what it was actually like.