It is believed that the number of children with autism is increasing in number in Australia. One in 100 Australians is affected with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) irrespective of their ethnic backgrounds. Dealing with the child with Autism can be very challenging for parents.
What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Autism Spectrum Australia describes the disorder as a lifelong neurodevelopmental disability that affects the way a person interacts with their environment and other people. It includes a range of conditions such as autism, Asperger syndrome and pervasive developmental disorder.
ASD is characterized by marked difficulties in social interaction, impaired verbal & nonverbal communication, restricted and repetitive interests and behaviors, sensory sensitivities.
Don’t assume or jump to the conclusion. A diagnosis can only be made after assessments by a pediatrician, psychologist and speech pathologist.
It’s not easy to hear the news that the child has autism, and realize that our life will be completely different than we had expected it to be. After the diagnosis, as parent we go through a range of emotions shock, grief, anxiety, anger, denial, loneliness and frustration. I am providing basic tips to parents, based on my experience of dealing with these kids. For expert advice relevant professions should be contacted.
Tip to Parents-
Learn about ASD from reliable sources.
Think of joining a support group. By meeting other parents you will have the support of families who understand your day-to-day challenges.
Be Consistent- To reinforce child’s learning, it is important to be consistent. Children with ASD find it hard to adapt their learning from one setting to others.
Structured schedule or routine- Make a visual routine chart or timetable and place it in your child’s bedroom, on the fridge, in the toilet, and on your child’s study table.
Give your child only one instruction at a time and wait for him to understand.
Use simple language, instead of “Stop throwing toys” just say “Stop” and “Eat your lunch and then banana” “Eat lunch” & so on.
Social stories have been proven to be helpful, use them.
Reward good behavior- Praise your child when he acts appropriately or learns a new skill.
Be attentive to your child’s sensory sensitivities. Find out what sights, sounds, smells, movements, and tactile sensations trigger your kid’s “bad” or disruptive behaviors and what elicits a positive response.
Doctors may sometimes prescribe medication to the children with autism when they have other symptoms, including depression, anxiety, seizures, or hyperactivity. Remember that not each child with ASD needs medication.
For more information and advice, relevant professionals need to be contacted.
Visit- https://www.autismspectrum.org.au / http://www.autismnsw.com
(Rekha Rajvanshi has a Masters of Psychology and Master’s of Philosophy in Education. She also studied Special Education at Macquarie University and works as a learning and Support teacher. She deals with various challenging behaviors in her job. )
The Indian Telegraph Sydney Australia