The birth of an autistic child often evokes the same awe and ecstasy, but it is the upbringing of your autistic baby that leaves much to be desired. ASD or Autistic Spectrum Disorders are developmental disorders that normally affect the brain and associated nerves of the patient. Autism; however, does not limit its effects to the patient. This complex disorder touches the lives of thousands of other people emotionally and biologically close to the autistic person. This genetic condition has taken many lives due to a complete lack of awareness. However, thanks to some renowned autism centers and doctors across the world, this serious medical condition is increasingly being accepted by the common masses. Autism patients are no longer being looked at contemptuously. They are no longer regarded as disdainful creatures that do not live, but merely exist. Much as societal acceptance is important in such cases, parental affirmation is essential for the overall well being and development of the child. An autism patient needs parents’ support at every stage of his life. Many parents are hiring caretakers for their special children these days. Are you terrified about your autistic child’s future? Are you spending sleepless nights in his concern? Autism is not a condition to be worried about. These children are just different who find themselves slightly disarrayed in the typical human world. But, with proper care and treatment, they can be taught to lead independent lives. In all this, role of parents is very significant and cannot be neglected. Therefore, I present to you
10 useful ways in which you can help your child cope with autism…
10. Cope with it Yourself, First!
It is often acknowledged that parents find themselves in a state of dilemma after the birth of a differently able child. Stress levels shoot up, and frustration rises among the parents. This mainly happens because parents attach a lot of sentiments, yearnings and expectations with the birth of their child right after the news of pregnancy reaches their ears. However, when this well carved mountain of expectations crashes down, parents find it extremely difficult to come to terms with their own fate as well as their child’s. This creates an environment of despondence, torment and agony in the house. Parents need to think realistically rather than living in a utopian world. Parents’ support is a very essential pre requisite for an autistic child. Therefore, it is important that parents deal with their child’s disability to the best of their abilities. But, firstly parents should know how to deal with their own emotions. Unrealistic expectations should not be fostered upon an autistic child. He or She should be nurtured with love, care, compassion and affection. As parents, you should be willing to do anything for your child unmindful of the fact that how different your child is, the child is special and you ought to love your child!
9. Early Diagnosis
If your kid does not babble, point or gesture by 12 months and makes poor eye contact with you, do not just ‘wait and watch’ as these may be early signs of autism. Take your kid to a good pediatrician. Although, there is no definitive cure for autism, early intervention programs can help children lead better lives. It is also absolutely important that pediatricians are aware of the early signs of autism. In a plethora of cases, treatments are delayed or even hampered due to lack of knowledge and expertise on the part of doctors. So, it is advised to visit a well qualified pediatrician, so that a referral to a specialist is made on time. Some of the early indicators of autism are delayed onset of social smile and speech, lack of imaginative play, aggressive behavior, and unresponsiveness to name, poor eye contact and unusual emotional responses.
8. Diagnosis by Multiple Clinicians
Many practitioners recommend that autism should never be diagnosed by a single clinician. Moreover, there is no single, conclusive medical test that can diagnose autism. Autism patients are required to undergo a series of behavioral, medical, social, sensory and communication tests before the final diagnosis. Autism is diagnosed on the basis of observations, research and precedents. Therefore, it is better if a multi disciplinary team of doctors is consulted rather than a single clinician. Choose your doctor wisely!
7. Don’t Waste Time after Diagnosis
Do not indulge yourself in moments of frenzy and paranoia on learning that your child is autistic. Fortunately, or unfortunately, you don’t have this luxury. Time is money and don’t waste it at this crucial juncture. Instead, resolve to move forward and assist your child in coping with this difficulty. As traumatic as it may sound, your child cannot do anything without you in this huge world initially. Only your support can make him self sufficient and independent. Consult the Internet and specialized doctors and make a specific and well researched daily plan for him so that along with the doctor’s techniques you also can help in your child’s treatment when he or she is at home with you.
6. Shun the Myths
Autism awareness needs to be spread at every level. There are multitudes of myths associated with autism that are misleading and often play havoc with the patient’s treatment. It is essential to know that autism is not caused due to environmental factors, mental stress during pregnancy, poor handling, etc. It is scientifically clear and evident that genetics play a causative role. Revelation of necessary facts derived from reliable sources that bear testimony to the truth is extremely important. Do your research, know as much as you can, but do not blindly follow myths and misconceptions.
5. Integrated and Individualized Treatment
Patients of autism suffer from multiple behavioral problems. They are required to undergo an extensive treatment for behavioral modifications. An individualized approach tailored to the child’s specific needs is essential. Dietary advice is also a necessary supplement to the treatment. A lot of autism care centers have devised integrated plans and programs according to the patient’s needs. These include sensory profiling, support to learning, communication, social imagination and interaction. Take your child to one of these centers.
4. Occupational Therapy
Autistic persons often find it difficult to present and comprehend language. With the lack of social interaction, autistic children develop anxiety. They even find it difficult to respond to sound, touch and smell. Such complications and confusions take a toll on their being leaving them isolated. Everyday life for them can be frightening and meaningless. Occupational therapies and therapists provide sensory integration strategies keeping in mind such complications.
3. Medicate with Caution
Autism is a behavioral and mental disorder triggered by some unlocated genes within the body and so does not have a definitive, medical cure. However, some doctors prescribe medicines in order to treat symptoms such as hyperactivity, dormancy, etc. But, these medicines are not very much effective and have a few side effects too. So, one should be cautious while using them.
2. Identify your child’s behavior
Although, autistic children suffer from a few learning disabilities, most of them are geniuses. They usually cultivate special interests right from a very young age ranging from arts to music. As parents, it is your duty to encourage them in these ventures. Autistic children get anxious in unfamiliar surroundings and prefer to stick to routines. You must not confuse them, and it is important that you yourself adhere to a specific routine every day. Carrying pictures of the environment or making them carry a camera help in improving their social behavior.
1. Special Schools
Special schools appropriately cater to the special demands of autistic children. Sending your autistic child to a normal school that comprises of typically developing children is a big NO. Learning styles of autistic children are different and therefore teaching styles should also be adopted accordingly. Attention spans of autistic children and their language and social skills also need to be complied with. Autism is not a disease. Understand them and nurture them with care.