Monday Mind Talks: Expert advice to help your child meet the challenges of autism spectrum disorder
Every child has different learning needs, but children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, also known as ASD, need a little more supervision and care. It is essential to understand what an autistic child needs and how you can support their learning, whether you are a parent or a teacher. In addition to the medical care and therapy you can arrange for your child, there are some basic, routine things that can make a difference. Today, Dr. Chitra Sankar, Consultant in Developmental Pediatrics at Manipal Hospital, Bangalore, offers advice on how to help young children with autism spectrum disorders navigate certain situations.
She explains, “Autism is a complex brain disorder that affects a child’s social skills, ability to interact with people and the environment, communication using words and gestures, and behavior. This condition is becoming common and is more common in boys than girls.
What are the symptoms?
Experts carefully analyze the child’s symptoms and indicators before making a diagnosis of ASD. It may take parents a while to learn about the signs and symptoms, which often become apparent during the second year.
Here are some early warning signs of autism:
1. Speech delay.
2. Does not respond to name.
3. Not interested or having limited skills in playing with peers.
4. Poor eye contact.
5. Prefers to play alone, does not engage with other children, or does not know how to play in groups.
6. Repetitive speech, ritual behavior patterns or hand-clapping, toe-walking, turning or mannerisms of hands and fingers.
7. Do not use gestures such as pointing with the index finger to communicate.
8. Getting upset or covering your ears due to sensitivity to certain sounds or mouthing toys or looking for smells.
what is the treatement?
The family may experience a great deal of fear and worry after receiving the autism diagnosis. There is no universally effective treatment for autism spectrum disorders. By alleviating autism spectrum symptoms and promoting growth and learning, therapy aims to improve your child’s ability to function.
A child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) may face a variety of challenges, but there are several things you can do to support them. The tips, remedies and services listed below are helpful for parents.
1. Have the child assessed by a developmental pediatrician to identify their current needs, strengths and challenges and to develop a plan for the support services they need.
2. Try to visit reliable websites for information about the disorder to better understand the disorder. This will allow you to better support your child in his difficulties.
3. Parents can support the child’s development at home throughout the day in short segments of a few minutes, which is a lot without too much stress for the child or the parent.
4. Use household routines to develop the child’s communication, functioning and independence in self-care activities like eating, dressing and going to the bathroom.
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 as a team with the therapist.
7. There is a lot of information on the internet about treatments. Before embarking on any of them, talk to your child’s specialist about whether it is evidence-based. Do not rely solely on mentions on the Internet.
8. Medicines may be used in some children to relieve your child’s symptoms. Talk to your child’s specialist if there are persistent sleep problems, irritability, self-harming behaviors and anxiety.
9. Invest time in taking care of your own physical and mental health. Be sure to spend time with your spouse and other family members.
10. Currently, there is no medicine or treatment to cure the disease. However, much can be done to support child development and progress. Find the right professionals and reassess the child’s progress with your child’s development specialist at regular intervals and adjust treatments.
For people with ASD, other therapies may be available. For more information, consult a doctor or other healthcare professional.
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