Autism,disease or not?
Autism is not a disease. Neither a child with autism is mad. Parents of an autistic child should not hide themselves from friends and relatives. Now a day, it has been observed withgreat anxiety that ‘autism’ or ‘autistic’ words are being used to bully someone. This write-up is from the core of my heart with a view to change our mind set about autism.
What is Autism?
Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder in which the affected children have difficulty in social communicationand demonstrate special type of behavioral abnormality. Different children with autism have different types of symptoms.But we can identify autism by observing some common criteria.
How to diagnostism?
Some of the children with autism may show special stereotyped behaviour doing the same thing repeatedly (such as clapping, jumping, rotating on their feet). Others may have speech and language problem called echolalia (which means talking the same word or sentence again andagain like a bird).
Children with autism can also have developmental delay like inappropriate mental age lower than normal. Suppose,a 14years old child may act like a 4 years old child. The basic characteristic of autism is difficulty in social communication. Children with autism cannot play or share their wants and interests with others. They usually prefer to be stay alone in their own world. They feel uncomfortable in any gathering or crowd.
Some of the children with autism show hyperactive behavior but it happens occasionally when the environment is unfavorable for them. They might cause self-injury or hurt others. Sometimes hyperactive children can shout and do non-sense that might cause embarrassment of their parents.
How to manage Autism?
Parents of a child with autism have to be convinced first thatautistic child. An early diagnosis is the key to successfullythey are neither guilty for their child nor being cursed to have themanage these children. When a child is born parents shouldlook carefully for any abnormality during the first year of the child like his/her smiling, crawling, eye contact, vision, hearingetc. If the child shows any delay or abnormality in either of thesedomain parents must bring them to a doctor.
Management should be started as soon as possible to get thebest outcome. Since the symptoms are different for each child treatment also varied according to their needs. Specialschooling is mandatory for their development. Regular follow upand practicing the advices at home makes the child calm and quite.
Home environment is another important issue for these children.A routine life is needed for childern with autism. They should be motivated in advance for any unwanted new situation or breakdown of their routine so that they might prepared mentally.All the family members must give them quality time since this is not only responsibility of a mother.
Children with autism might need some physiotherapy, speechand language therapy, occupational therapy and of coursepsychological counselling. Usually all these therapies areprovided by the special school. In a special school they getchance to have accompanies with friends and teachers which in turn is necessary for their development.
Last of all it can be said that children with autism are also part of our society. So we should not avoid them since they are not harmful at all. All of us should conceive a positive mentality towards these children and their parents, 15 percent of children now a days born with a special need. So we must accommodate them and accept their special behavior because only then we can dream a better future for our society as well as the nation.
-Dr. Sonia Sultana