‘I know what you’re going through,’ or ‘ Do your other children have autism too?’ are by far the worst things to say to parents with autistic children. Parenting is challenging for everyone. But, for parents of children with an autism spectrum disorder, parenthood becomes a sensitive matter.
Nurturing and positive reinforcement of healthy behaviors is part of parenting, in general. But, parents with autistic children face developmental issues of children from a very young age. Thus, they have to start at a very early age to channel their child’s energy into constructive and positive behaviors.
So, before we go on, let us tell you what autism is?
Autism, also known as Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD, is a pervasive developmental disability with an amalgamation of neurological disorders. It is a complicated condition whereby the child’s communication, understanding, motor, and sensory skills undergo decelerated growth.
According to the Center For Disease Control And Prevention, one in every 54 children has autism spectrum disorder. The World Health Organization also claims that ASD is on the rise. Furthermore, ASD is four times more common in boys than in girls. The number of children with ASD has significantly increased over the years. Researchers are unable to identify the reasons for the rise in this epidemic.
And, now that you know of the relevant details about autism spectrum disorder, read on to discover the various sign and symptoms of ASD.
The Symptoms And Signs Of Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autistic children tend to avoid eye contact. They often suffer from poor communication skills. Repetitive behaviors, high sensitivity to sudden movements or loud noises, and unwillingness to accept physical show of love. There is always trouble adapting to changes in routine. Additionally, there is a severe lack of understanding of what others are thinking or feeling. On the other hand, they are unable to express their feelings and thoughts to others too.
Children with autism spectrum disorder also tend to have a narrow range of interests and do obsess over particular personal belongings. Some show extreme signs of social withdrawal, and others even suffer from seizures.
Parents with autistic children need to train and learn techniques to be able to rear their children with the proper care and attention these adorable little munchkins need.
If you do happen to be the proud parent of an autistic child, there are plenty of therapies available to you that will help your child. These therapies are mostly two-sided as they tend to assist parents in learning the appropriate behavior of caring for an autistic child as well.
Therapies Related To Autism Spectrum Disorder
Fortunately, for parents of kids with ASD, there are multiple ways that you can deal with autism. Remember, autism isn’t curable. But, with the right attitude and supportive treatment, kids with ASD do show signs of positive behavior.
Applied Behavior Analysis
Sounds rather complex? So, if you’re wondering what does ABA stand for?, allow us to inform you. Applied behavior analysis, also known as ABA, is the most effective method of improved learning and development. ABA uses different techniques such as discrete trial training, pivotal response training, verbal behavior intervention, and early intensive behavioral intervention to develop the motivation to learn. All of these involve the concept of positive reinforcement through rewards and discourage detrimental behavior through repetitive learning processes.
It also essential to understand that ABA is all about one-on-one sessions between your child and the therapist. Your participation is minimal, and you are to do your share of learning with the therapist too. It’s a technique mostly used in schools and clinics by trained professionals.
Developmental, Individual Differences, Relationship-Based Approach
The name is quite a mouthful, so it’s more popularly known as DIR. It is also known as Floortime. Here parents and close family members are part of the learning process. Everybody gets on the floor, proverbially and literally speaking. You get to play and participate in activities that your child enjoys personally, and through the fun and games, you teach positive behaviors.
Fundamentally, this therapy supports emotional and intellectual growth through communication and emotion.
Treatment And Education Of Autistic And Related Communication-Handicapped Children
Better known as TEACCH, this program uses visual cues like picture cards to learn day-to-day skills such as getting dressed. Every movement of the entire process of getting dressed is broken into smaller tasks to simplify the whole activity. TEACCH is about honing the motor skills of autistic children but involves fun and play. Hence, the small steps are easy to understand and learn.
The Picture Exchange Communication System
Another visual-based treatment, using symbols to encourage communication. Therefore, your child learns these simple gestures or specific signs to communicate and ask questions. This therapy has shown break-through results with children suffering from severe speech impairment.
As the name somewhat suggests, the design of the treatment is such that it assists autistic children to learn life skills such as feeding themselves. It includes several techniques to make a child with autism spectrum disorder become more independent.
Although your child may occasionally require your help, they will be able to understand how to relate to others and perform everyday functions.
Sensory Integration Therapy
ASD is spectrum-based, meaning that some children show minimal signs of ASD, and others suffer from many symptoms. Sensory integration therapy is specifically for those who have greater sensitivity to loud noises, bright lights, or even an aversion to being touched.
In this therapy, your child learns to cope with the external environmental stimuli and manage their emotions.
There are no medications that can effectively cure ASD, but there are medicines that help with the associated symptoms such as seizures, depression, and insomnia.
There are about five disorders that fall on the autism spectrum disorder that includes Asperger’s Disorder, Rett’s Disorder, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified, and Pervasive Development Disorder.
As a parent, if you are blessed with a child who has ASD, do not despair. You’ll find plenty of support all around you, only if you take a look around you. And, remember it’s a privilege to care for a child, not a challenge.