KOCHI: On this World Autism Awareness Day, let us all play a part in changing attitudes toward persons with autism and in recognizing their rights as citizens, who, like everyone else, are entitled to claim those rights and make decisions for their lives in accordance with their own will and preferences.
April is autism awareness month. Through the month, events are organized for people with autism, their parents, and autism groups. Walks, seminars, discussions, plays, performances, radio programs, presentations, art carnivals, meetings with heads of state and local dignitaries are organized. All activities aim to bring autism into our social consciousness.
What is autism?
Autism spectrum disorders, - a complex and lifelong neurological condition that typically occurs in the first three years of life marking a child’s ability to play, learn, communicate and relate to others. There is a lot of research considering what may cause the condition, and the indications are that autism may result from a combination of factors including genetic and environmental influences.
Given the differences in communication, social interaction, imagination, many people in the spectrum may have very uncommon activities and atypical ways of relating to people, objects and events in the environment. While the indicators and harshness of this spectrum can vary widely between individuals, improved vigilance may help caregivers seek specialized assistance much early in a youngster’s life.Early detection and intervention can help children attain their full ability. Listed are few facts about the condition, which parents need to keep on their locator.
Signs of autism are not well defined
Understanding the red flags of autism can help parents stay on the same page of their child’s growth and progress.The following red flags necessitate an evaluation without delay
By 6 months: Absence of big smiles or any warm or joyful expressions.
By 9 months: There is no sharing of expressions by way of sounds or facial expressions.
By 12 months: Fails to respond to name.
By 12 months: Absence of babbling or baby talk, the absence of gestures as pointing, waving, reaching.
By 16 months: There are no spoken words.
By 24 months: Absence of meaningful two-word phrases on own.
Patterns of development in each child may vary
Few of them may have delayed milestones. Others may appear to be developing normally and then show signs of age and growth-related slowing along with atypical behaviours associated with autism. Still, others regress - losing words and abilities they once had.
Early and evidence-based intervention guides
Starting intervention as young as possible is most effective in helping the development of children with ASD. When the intervention is family-centred, well-structured and evidence-based, children show improvement in most aspects of development. The most effective early intervention is across the board and inclusive. It intends to mend communication, motor, social, emotional and cognitive skills within the probable semi-structured sequences.According to Dr Joseph, adequate environmental stimulation and exposure is needed from the time of birth. Once in the risk, it becomes then vital to provide intervention for children with developmental disabilities.
The condition is much managed when
Constructive and adaptive principles are taught along with the incorporation of recent technology and assessments to help with the intervention.
The centres providing such interventions should also aim at integrating children with various disabilities into the community, to become fair participants and face life with courage and confidence.
Director and Senior Consultant.
Prayatna Centre form Child Development Palarivattom
( The views expressed by the author are his own)