Every child has different learning requirements, but kids with autism spectrum disorder, also known as ASD, need a little more supervision and care. It’s critical to comprehend what a child with autism requires and how you can support their learning, whether you’re a parent or teacher. There are basic, commonplace things that can make a difference in addition to the medical care and therapies you may arrange for your child. Today, Dr. Chitra Sankar, a developmental paediatrician consultant at Manipal Hospital, Bangalore, offers some advice on how to help young children with autism spectrum disorder navigate certain situations.
She explains, “Autism is a complex brain-based disorder that affects a child’s social skills, ability to interact with people and the environment, communication using words and gestures and behaviour. This condition is becoming common and is seen more frequently in boys than girls.”
What are the symptoms?
Experts carefully analyse the child’s symptoms and indicators before making an ASD diagnosis. Parents may take some time to discover signs and symptoms, which often become apparent in the second year.
Here are a few early indications of autism:
1. Speech delay.
2. Not responding to name.
3. Not interested or having limited skills in playing with peers.
4. Poor eye contact.
5. Prefers to play alone, not engaging with other children or does not know how to play in a group.
6. Repetitive speech, ritualistic patterns of behaviour or flapping hands, toe walking, spinning or hand and finger mannerisms.
7. Not using gestures such as pointing with the index finger to communicate.
8. Getting upset or covering ears due to sensitivity to certain sounds or mouthing toys or seeking smells.
What is the treatment?
The family may experience a great deal of fear and worry after receiving the diagnosis of autism. There is no universally effective treatment for autism spectrum disorder. By easing symptoms of autism spectrum condition and promoting growth and learning, therapy aims to enhance your child’s capacity for function.
A child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can face a variety of difficulties, but there are many things you can do to support them. The advice, remedies, and services listed below are helpful for parents.
1. Get the child assessed by a Developmental paediatrician to identify the child’s current needs, strengths and challenges and to develop a plan for the support services that he needs.
2. Try to look through reliable websites for information on the disorder so that you can understand the disorder better. This will enable you to support your child through his challenges better.
3. Parents can support the child’s development at home throughout the day in short segments lasting few minutes adding up to a lot without too much strain for either child or parent.
4. Make use of home routines to develop child’s communication, functioning and independence in self-care activities like eating, dressing and toileting.
5. Join and participate in child’s play activities at home and develop child’s vocabulary, interactions and play skills.
6. Therapy is very important for the child. Don’t postpone it. Continue to support your child’s development by working with the therapist as a team.
7. There is a lot of information on the internet on treatments. Before embarking on any of them, talk to your child’s specialist to know if it is based on evidence. Don’t go by internet endorsements alone.
8. Medications can be used in some children to help your child’s symptoms. Talk to your child’s specialist if there are persistent sleep problems, irritability, self-injurious behaviours and anxiety.
9. Invest some time to take care of your own physical and mental health. Make sure to spend some time with your spouse and with other family members.
10. At present there are no medicines or treatments to cure the condition. However, a lot can be done to support the child’s development and progress. Find the right professionals and re-evaluate the child’s progress with your child’s developmental specialist at regular intervals and adjust the treatments.
For people with ASD, other therapies might be accessible. To learn more, consult a physician or other medical professional.