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Understanding autism

Autism is known as a complex developmental disability. Experts believe that Autism presents itself during the first three years of a person’s life, writes Farida Khan.

The condition is the result of a neurological disorder that has an effect on normal brain function, affecting development of the person’s communication and social interaction skills.

Did your child yell if he was unable to wear his favourite shoes? Did he enjoy cuddling? Does he fear the toilet, the market, the dentist?

The tale of nine year boy with autism
Rahul is a 9-year-old autistic child. At the beginning, his parents noticed there were signs being different from the rest. While making a conversation, I asked his mother what she meant by “different” she said Rahul did not connect with his family and friends They first realized their son’s condition when he was 5year old, Rahul goes to integrated school and performs adequately. His behavioral problems are relatively under control and he is able to take care of his distress and sense of anger. His sensory problems have improved too. The best part about Rahul he’s always trying to tell how he feels and what he needs from the rest of the world . Rahul repeated word “I can with smile on his face”

After speaking with several child development experts and parents of Kids with Austism
Points to keep in mind for autism behavior and deal them properly .

1. Sleep Disruption
Sleep can be hard for kids with autism as they tend to have highly sensitive nervous systems. Even the slightest variation in their day can affect their sleep for the night. Many parents find that creating a nocturnal oasis helps a lot. Eileen Riley-Hall, author of “Parenting Girls on the Autism Spectrum,” says to think sensory-wise: room-darkening shades, a white noise machine, weighted blankets. “Basically anything you can do to make sleep more appealing,” suggests the mother of two teenage girls on the spectrum.
One way to do this, Friedman suggests, is through visual supports like the “TEACH” program method: “Show them a picture of a clock and a picture of Mom and Dad and say, ‘You can come into our room when your clock matches this clock.'”

2. Food Sensitivity
“Kids with autism are historically tremendously picky and selective and limited in what they will eat,” says Riley Hall. “It’s a sensory thing; you have to have lots of trial and error, certain textures, and certain foods.

Alison Berkley, co-owner and co-director of Emerge & See Education Center talks about a tactic learned from Susan Robert an autism educator and consultant with a specialty in picky eaters.
Getting your child to eat a variety of foods starts with expanding their tolerance level: “It doesn’t even need to be that the child eats a new food but that they tolerate it being on the table,” says Berkley. “At the next meal they tolerate it being on the plate and then they tolerate just touching it. Then you can slowly expand their repertoire of food.”
She recommends a slow, gentle and positive approach “because you want them to take their fear and anxiety around food and transform it into a sense of empowerment and a sense of control.”

3. Meltdowns
“Don’t put your child in over his or her head,” warns author Riley-Hall, who is also an English teacher at an inclusive high school in upstate New York. “I have parents I talk to who say, ‘Well, everyone is going to Six Flags for the day,” and I’m like, ‘Well, you might not be able to do that.’ If you know it’s a situation where it’s going to be really long or really difficult, you’re just sort of setting them up. You have to accept that there are limitations that come with having a child with autism.”

With a tantrum, the child is still in control, they want to get their own way, explains Riley-Hall. With a meltdown, they can’t calm down and at that point either they’ve gotten themselves so upset or so overwhelmed they’re no longer in control of the situation. “And they can be difficult to judge,” she says. “It’s really important not to always give in to meltdowns because you’re afraid of them. The basic thing is to hold them and calm them and wait until they can calm down themselves.

4. Aggressive Behaviour
Aggressive and self-injurious behaviors are fairly common in children with autism, says Des Roches Rosa. When her son Leo acts aggressively, it’s usually due to sensory overload or frustration with his inability to communicate his needs effectively. “Most times, when people better understand the basis for the aggressive or self-injurious behavior and then accommodate or support the person with autism, things can improve dramatically,” she says.

Des Roches Rosa swears by data tracking: “We keep scrupulous notes about Leo and his behaviors and all the factors in his day.” Having done this for years, De Roches Rosa incorporates notes his day: what he eats, how much he sleeps, even whether his father is on a business trip. “We can actually identify seasonal behavioral arcs. So when something is wrong, we can go back and figure it out.”

Point to keep in Mind!
1. Children with autism can be inconsistent in their ability to use their skills. Your child may be able to communicate with single words on his or her best days but may need to use pictures on other days. Or your child may be able to build towers with his or her sibling some of the time but at other times can only be successful when playing alone. Making sure that your child masters skills at each level may mean that progress will be slow, but this approach will ensure that what your child learns is meaningful and useful.

2.There are actually many types of development that could be reviewed in this step by step manner. For example, social development, like nonverbal thinking, imitation, communication, and play skills, emerges in a sequence of developmental steps. At early stages of development, however, many types of skills are related. Improvement in play skills and communication will promote social development. Improvement in nonverbal thinking will help your child understand toys. Remembering to emphasize your child’s strengths and interests in all areas is important because the development of his or her stronger areas will promote development in weaker areas.

3. As your child passes through each stage of development and takes on more complicated activities, remember to make each advancing step a small one. Change each activity a little bit at a time. For example, if your child can successfully communicate about food using pictures, you may want your child to start using words and start communicating about other topics. This will probably be too many changes at one time and will lead to frustration. Choose only one thing to teach at a time. For example, introduce a wider variety of pictures for your child to communicate about but wait to teach a new type of communication such as talking.

Remember that visual skills are usually strength for children with autism. It may take some extra work or creativity to teach using visual techniques. Emphasizing this type of learning, however, is likely to increase your child’s ability to learn and understand at all levels of development.

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