Parents all around the world will unanimously agree that parenting is challenging. However, some face a far more comprehensive and inspirational task of parenting autistic children.
Now, if you’re wondering about the exceptionality of raising autistic kids, continue to read on to find out about Autism Spectrum Disorder, its signs, and symptoms. And, most importantly, the best way to nurture autistic children.
What Is Autism?
Autism is a pervasive developmental disorder, affecting all aspects of a child’s development, starting from childhood. Research conducted by the Centre Of Disease Control claims that one in fifty-nine children faces autism spectrum disorder in the US. It is known to be the fastest-growing developmental disability and is more prevalent in boys than girls.
But, a diagnosis of ASD is verified only through the analysis of three specific areas of a child’s development which are called as the “triad of impairments” and are the fields that undergo the most strain through this developmental disability.
It might be a bit confusing to understand the impact autism has in these areas. Thus, you may comprehend better if you are acquainted with the symptoms of autistic disorder.
What Are The Symptoms Of Autism?
Children with ASD have decelerated progression. So, you’ll find that children with autism may have impaired social functioning and communication disturbances. Hence, they may focus too much upon a particular item, unresponsiveness, lack of empathy, unwillingness to make eye contact, repetitive movements, and lack of understanding of social cues. They may even depict social withdrawal or self-abusive behavior.
Other autistic signs are
- the deviating tone of voice
- abnormal body postures or facial expressions
- delayed language comprehension
- learning difficulties
- flat or monotonous speech
- refraining from engaging peers to play
- unusual reactions to a social setting
- usage of odd words or phrases
Autism Severity Disorder has a wide variety of subtypes because it is a spectrum disorder. Therefore, each person with autism has a distinct set of strengths and challenges. On one side, you may see children with higher IQs and some with reasonably low IQ. Also, some have a firm grasp of conversational skills. On the other hand, others do not master communicational skills until an advanced age. A few withdraw socially, and some are at the center of close-knit families.
But, hopeful parents across the world see this predicament as an opportunity to be emotionally closer to their children, more than ever before.
And, if you’re concerned that there is no way to tackle this challenge head-on. You couldn’t be more wrong. There are plenty of options available for parents with autistic children.
What Are The Choices Available To Parents With Autism?
There are a variety of therapy options for ASD that produce successful behavioral changes and improved learning. However, each child with ASD has a defined set of needs that requires treatment that meets their specific needs.
Thus, we’ll name a few effective treatments available today. These are:
- Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA)
- Relationship Development Intervention
- Sensory Therapies
- Occupational Therapy
- Speech Therapy
Now, let’s take a closer look at these therapies to comprehend how they bring positive changes in children with ASD.
Applied Behavioral Analysis
ABA is known to date as the most effective means to help with an autism spectrum disorder. It helps teach social, motor, and verbal behaviors. ABA strategies work on reasoning skills and provide ways to manage challenging behaviors. Nonetheless, it is an expensive form of therapy and works best when applied from a very early age.
It helps if the parents are a part of these therapies, as you can then understand how it works and reinforce positive behavior at all times. But, it’s quite a skill set to acquire and is very time-consuming. Yet, you can be sure that ABA does considerably lower negative or unhealthy behaviors.
Relationship Development Intervention
Also known as RDI, relationship development intervention is a relatively new trademark therapy. RDI training begins by aiding children to form relationships with their parents and family members.
RDI training focuses on social skills and interaction. And, it too works best when applied from an early age.
The key to the success of RDI training is the parents. The parents are the ones who are coached to use every chance as a ‘teachable moment’ to engage your child and build appropriate social skills.
Sensory Integration And Related Therapies
ASD affects sensory skills, so you’ll find that some children are overly sensitive to stimuli such as light. Therapists work one-on-one with ASD children. The ultimate goal is to minimize a child’s reaction to external stimuli.
You have to remember that you cannot use force upon children to reinforce positive behaviors. Hence, activities involving sensory integration therapies are fun-based and entertaining for autistic children. At the same time, these activities push the boundaries of behavioral learning.
Children with ASD have limited interests, activities, or play skills as they have trouble communicating and interacting with others. This is where occupational therapy comes in as its focus is to help a child with ASD to develop these skills at home or in school.
Occupational therapists are experts in the emotional, social, and physiological effects of illness and injury. The knowledge helps them gain insight on how to promote people with autistic disorder to live independently and interact with the outside world with minimal unhealthy behaviors.
However, they do not tend to work alone. These therapists tend to work as a part of a team that involves parents, teachers, other close family members, friends as well as other professionals.
As we mentioned earlier, children with ASD may suffer from impaired communication skills. But, ASD also hinders cognitive and social interaction skills. So, we find that people with ASD do not just have problems with speech but also with nonverbal communication.
Speech-language pathologists specialize in treating language problems and speech disorders. Fundamentally, speech therapy can improve communication skills. Plus, it also helps to facilitate the ability to form relationships and function with ease in their day-to-day lives.
Loving and nurturing children with ASD is a privilege, not a challenge. All you have to remember is that you have a positive outlook about the life that you have. And, you have plenty of help to go around. You just have to look for it in the right places. Read up about autism spectrum disorder on the net, visit the neighborhood clinic or therapy center that helps with autism, and always keep in mind to show your loved one that you care and are listening to them.