Children are a source of joy and satisfaction, and they spice up their parents’ lives by making their marriage complete. On the other hand, couples find themselves with children who are abled differently and this requires special attention. Autism is one such challenge that affects children which therefore calls for special attention on the child.
What is autism?
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or Autism is a general term used to describe a large group of neurodevelopmental conditions. They are characterized by diverse challenges such as speech, social skills, repetitive behaviours, and nonverbal communication. Autism varies from one person to the other, in the same way, even in skills and symptoms. It can either be a disability that requires full-time care in a special facility, or just a minor problem.
Symptoms of autism
According to Healthline, the symptoms of autism surface when the child is between the age of 12-24 months. However, they may appear earlier, or later than that. Some of them for example are delayed social development and language.
The symptoms can be categorized into two:
- Restricted or repetitive behaviour or activities patterns
- Social interaction and communication problems
Your child must have symptoms in either, or both of the above categories for them to be diagnosed with autism. These symptoms include:
- Lack of eye contact
- Little range of interests or great interest in certain topics
- Doing a certain thing time and again, e.g. saying something repetitively, swinging back and forth, hand-flapping, jumping, etc.
- Constant moving
- Lack of coordination
- Acting without thinking
- Aggressive behaviour
- High sensitivity to smells, sounds, sights, or touches, that are ordinary to other people
- Not listening or looking at other people
- Not looking at things when someone points at them
- Refusing to be cuddled or held
- Difficulties in adapting to routine changes
- Talking in a robotic, sing-song, or flat voice
- Problems in using or understanding facial expressions, speech, gestures, & tone of voice
Who is likely to develop autism?
ASD is common amongst the entire human race. Regardless of which continent, country, race, and ethnicity one comes from, or their gender. Anyone can suffer from autism because it is a condition that you are born with. Nobody chooses to be autistic.
Autism has no cure because it is not a disease or an infection. However, early diagnosis and treatment can make a significant difference in the development of an autistic child. The best proactive measure against autism is to seek medical care for your child as early as possible. Consult your physician when you realize any autism symptoms.
Some of the known treatments include:
- Behavioural and Communication Therapy
- Applied Behavioural Analysis
- Occupational Therapy
- Sensory Integration Therapy
- Speech Therapy
- Medications that smother symptoms of ASD like anxiety, attention problems, and hyperactivity
How parents can manage autism
Managing a child with autism to a great extent involves giving them moral support and offering them medical care. This motivates and cheers them up and also raises their confidence and self-esteem.
By so doing, they will stop looking down on themselves and feel worthy & appreciated just like any other child. Moreover, play with them, give them attention by spending your time together, praise their good behaviours, and shower them with love.
Supporting a friend whose kid has autism
The sages said, “A friend in need is a friend indeed.” Offer your friend (with an autistic child) your shoulder to cry and lean on. This makes them feel that you have stood by them in their hour of need.
Are there support clubs/Forums for kids with autism?
Yes. There are many forums that support autistic kids. You can reach out to them, and obtain the help that you need.
In conclusion, you have learnt how to raise a kid with autism. This neurodevelopmental condition nonetheless, varies from one person to the other. Therefore, your physician or therapist will guide you on how to handle your autistic child.12