All posts by skcharles1

Inclusion of Developmental Disabilities in Church

I used this article because it showed that current research proves that children with a developmental disability on the autistic spectrum are helped by their participation in church settings.  It proved helpful by showing what benefits religious involvement could help children with autism.


Article: “Inclusion of people with mental retardation and other developmental disabilities in communities of faith by J. Vogel, E. Polloway, and J. Smith, published in 2006 in Mental Retardation

Religious Coping

This article focused on how families dealt with their children having autism in a religious setting.  I used this article to discover how whether or not families found their religion as a positive or negative way of helping them with their autistic children.


Article: “Religious Coping in Families of Children with Autism” by Nalini Tarakeschwar and Kenneth I. Pargament, publiched in 2001 in

Spirituality on the Autistic Spectrum

I used this article mainly because it was written by a person who has autism and is about their experience communing with God.  It provided me with an inside view of what it was like to have autism and experience religion.  The article’s main focus was to make sure it was known that autistic people should be included within the religious community, even though they may commune with God in different ways.


Article: “On Connectedness: Spirituality on the Autistic Spectrum” by Christopher Barber, published in 2011 in Practical Theology

Integrating Faith and Treatment

This article focuses on different treatment options for children with autism, specifically a Christ-centered treatment program.  This article mainly interested me because it looked at an alternate way to help treat autism.


Article: “Integrating Faith and Treatment for Children with High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorders” by Cara Marker, Magdalena Weeks, and Irene Kraegel, published in 2007 in The Journal of Psychology and Christianity, Volume 26

Church Ministry and the Child with Autism

This article focused on how a family’s faith and religion helped to support them and their autistic children.  I used this article to help me understand the possible benefits that children could have by being involved within their church. This is the article that sparked my idea of a difference in the structural environments of church services.  From my own personal experience, I notice that the autistic child I babysit often deals a little better with an environment that is structured, and I wondered if the same would be applicable to how stressed they would be in different church environments.


Article: “Church Ministry and the Child with Autism” by Joyce Emmons Nuner and Tamara Stringer Love, published in 2013 in Family and Community Ministries, Volume 26

Autism Spectrum Disorders and the Image of God

This article specifically focused on how those who have been diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum interact with God and view the image of God.  I mainly used this article to help me understand how a child with autism might have a relationship with God, despite having obvious social impairments.


Article: “Autism Spectrum Disorders and the Image of God as a Core Aspect of Religiousness” by Hanneke Schaap-Jonker, Bram Sizoo, Jannine can Schothorst-van Roekel, and Jozef Corveleyn, published in 2013 in The International Journal for the Psychology of Religion

Autism From a Religious Perspective

This study looked at three families immigrant South Asian Muslim families with children that had been diagnosed as on the Autism Spectrum.  I mainly utilized their usage of participant observation and how the researcher immersed themselves within the cultures of the families in order to fully understand what their life was like.


Article: “Autism From a Religious Persepctive: A Study of Parental Beliefs in South Asian Muslim Immigrant Families” by Brinda Jegatheesan, Peggy J. Miller, and Susan A. Fowler, published in 2010 by the Hammil Institute on Disabilities


Evolving Brain Stuff, Y’all

The Authors: The article, entitled “Evolution of the Cerebellar Cortex: The Selective Expansion of Prefrontal-Projecting Cerebellar Lobules,” was researched and written by Dr. John Balsters, E. Cussans, Jörn Diedrichsen, Dr. Kathryn A. Phillips, Dr. Todd M. Preuss, Dr. James K. Rilling, and Dr. Narender Ramnani. All of these people have interests in the cerebellum and motor functions.


Hypothesis: The authors predicted that since the prefrontal cortex has evolved to be larger in relation to the motor cortex in humans, there should also be enlargements in the cerebellum, specifically those parts that are associated with the prefrontal cortex, in relation to the lobules of the cerebellum associated with the motor cortex.


This shows where the cerebellum is located. The prefrontal cortex is located at the front of the cerebrum and the motor cortex in about the middle of the cerebrum.


The Experiment: They decided to test their hypothesis by examining three different primate species, humans, chimpanzees, and capuchin monkeys.  They took ten different subjects for each species, five of these were males and five were females.  All of the subjects were of an age where the brain would have reached full maturity.  High-resolution MRI scans were taken of each of the subject’s brains, as well as structural images. Using various programs, the scans and images were oriented in the same direction, and the cerebellum was eventually isolated from the rest of the brain, so that the scientists were left with only images of the part of the brain they were interested in (those lobules that were associated with the motor loop or the prefrontal loop). They then extracted images for the cerebellar lobules using the FSLView program. The volumes of each of the images of the cerebellar lobules were then calculated. The specific parts of the cerebellum they isolated were Lobule V, Lobule VI, Crus I, Crus II, Lobule VIIb, and Lobule VIIIa. After completing the calculations of the volumes of the lobules, they decided to compare the volumes measured against the volume of the whole cerebellum and against the sum of the volumes that had been masked, which are those related to the motor and prefrontal cortex.


A capuchin monkey


Results: In reference to the lobules of the cerebellum when compared to the whole cerebellum, the largest differences across the species came from the comparisons with Crus I and Crus II, in which humans were found to have the greatest proportion, followed by chimpanzees and then the capuchin monkeys.

A chimpanzee


In reference to the lobules of the cerebellum when compared to the masked volumes, it was found that the volumes of the masked lobules occupied the greatest portion of the cerebellum in humans, followed by chimpanzees and then capuchin monkeys respectively. Through this comparison, it was again shown that the greatest differences between species came from the Crus I and Crus II sections.


Difference in size of a human brain (left) and a chimpanzee brain (right).

Discussion: They have shown that the evolution of the cortical lobules is directly related to the evolution of the neocortical areas that are associated with them. Crus I and Crus II specifically are much larger than other lobules associated with the primary motor cortex. It was also discovered that Crus I and Crus II in capuchin monkeys are significantly smaller than Crus I and Crus II in humans and chimpanzees. The enlargements in the cerebellar cortex relate to those of the prefrontal cortex in all of the species. These enlargements in the human brain correlate specifically to its functional specializations.

The scientists compare their data to that of the brains of Old World monkeys and hypothesize that the volumes of Old World monkeys should fall in between those of the chimpanzees and the capuchin monkeys, which upon further examination proves to be accurate in the observation of one macaque monkey.

The allometric trends that could arise due to these differences between the species are an area the scientists think needs more study and that they did not examine specifically.  They do, however, state that humans definitely depart from the isometric trends, which they attribute to the differences in the cerebellum.

The enlargement of the prefrontal cortex in humans had been attributed to white matter expansions as opposed to grey matter.  This study suggests the opposite. It is mentioned that the cerebellum is largely made of white matter, but the lobules that were examined in this study were largely comprised of grey matter, which is the reason for the shift.


My comments: I found this article to be incredibly difficult to understand, which was surprising to me because I do not usually find myself struggling to read articles about research experiments.  That being said, research articles such as this are very often written with a specific audience in mind and are therefore fairly exclusionary to the general public. The problem with this is that laymen can not find materials to read on subjects like this because they are largely unreadable to the public. It can cause a lot of misunderstanding or loss of interest in subjects such as this because most people will not usually try to wrestle with and understand much of the scientific jargon used in the article.

Road Trips

Ever since I passed my driving exam and got my driver’s license, I have enjoyed driving.  This has been especially true of me when it comes to road trips.  Every time I have the opportunity to, I like to take road trips, whether by myself or with friends.  This past Christmas, my family all met up in Cleveland, Ohio to spend Christmas together, and even though my younger sister, who also lives in Tuscaloosa, decided she would fly up there, I packed up my things and my dog and road tripped the both of us to Cleveland, stopping at historical sites and museums along the way.  When I came to college from my parent’s house in the Bay Area of California, my parents flew one of my friends out to California and we road tripped from there to Huntsville, Alabama.  We spent a week travelling in my MINI Cooper and visiting sites such as the Grand Canyon and the Petrified Forest.  I find that taking road trips in a weird way gives me a sense of tranquility.  Driving has a calming affect on me, which is why I will sometimes just get in my car and drive when I need to calm down or have something to really think about.

A picture of my current car with snow at Christmas!
A picture of my current car with snow at Christmas!

Historical: Leading a lifestyle in which one frequently travels is very reflective of many people historically.  Historians believe that the people who initially settled this continent were nomads, as well as many others who lived before them and after them.  Native Americans were often forced into a nomadic lifestyle because they were constantly hunting the buffalo and would move based on where the buffalo were going.

Proximal: My outside causes are very often my family.  If I want to see them during the holidays, I have to travel to where they are, and, if possible, my preferred method of travelling to them is by driving.  Sometimes I am forced to fly, but most often these days, we are meeting in places that allow me to drive and road trip with my dog.

My dog, Dobby, and I stopped at Abraham Lincoln's birthplace!
My dog, Dobby, and I stopped at Abraham Lincoln’s birthplace!

Developmental: When in college, most people like to travel and explore as many new places as they can.  This usually manifests itself in study abroad programs or Spring break vacations.  As I am usually working during Spring break and I will not get the opportunity to study abroad for financial reasons, my desire to explore new places manifests itself in my road trips.  Often times, I will stop somewhere just because I saw a sign for it somewhere or I extensively plan the spots I want to stop at because I know already that there is something interesting there.

Functional: Driving is something that requires a lot of coordination on the part of the individual.  Such coordination is definitely an evolved behavior.  Much of it is also learned.  There is a reason why you have to be a certain age in order to apply for a driver’s license, and I think a lot of that has to do with a person’s ability to perform the tasks necessary to drive.

Me at the Grand Canyon!
Me at the Grand Canyon!