Autism is a developmental disorder of brain function. It is a complex neurobehavioral condition that includes impairment in social interaction, delayed development of language and communication skills combined with rigid and repetitive behaviour. Children suffering from autism present with a wide range of symptoms, hence symptoms in children suffering from autism are different in every child. That’s why it is now called as Autism Spectrum Disorder. Autism affects boys much more frequently than girls. The causes of autism are not fully established but genetic factors, viral infections, pregnancy or birth complications, vaccinations are considered to be causing autism in children. Children with autism appear normal but are withdrawn and unable to relate normally with others.
What is normal in an autistic child who appears to be abnormal for otherwise normal human behavior?
- Adjustment to any situation that we come across in day to day life is the most essential human skill which most autistic children lack. They cannot handle surprises or big changes in their routines. They need a warning or clear instruction which would not cause them to become anxious or panic.
- Too much information at a time is very difficult to be assimilated by an autistic child. Using simple languages and short sentences would be very useful for them. Give them a few seconds to understand and respond to what you have told them. If they fail to understand the first time, do not rephrase the sentence but repeat what you have said in the same words. If you try to be aggressive with them they will on become slow in life and deteriorate further. Hence they need that extra time to process what is spoken to them.
- Every child suffering from autism presents with different set of symptoms. Ask the parents who are 24 x 7 with their child who suffers from autism rather than drawing conclusions on what is displayed in front of you. A few symptoms may be similar but only their parents are able to give the details which make them different from another autistic child.
- When you ask them to “Pick up speed”, which a normal child would understand that they need to walk faster, an autistic child would actually start looking out for an object named “speed” to be lifted from the floor. Hence using a figurative speech is always a task for an autistic child. Use language which is very simple for autistic children to understand.
- Autistic child could understand much more than what we think they do, but they may not be able to frame it into the words they want to actually speak. Sometimes they may speak lengthy sentences without understanding a word of what they are speaking. It is really difficult to understand what they know and understand and what they do not as they need to keep learning every time.
- Autistic children can stuck to one subject and become repetitive. They keep talking the same thing all day long and there could be barely anything that would help you to distract them. But they need to be distracted with patience because if they are not distracted, they will never learn something new. The situation of them getting stuck in a continuous loop has to be broken but with skills and without getting upset with them.
- Most autistic children appear to be disinterested in people or classmates around them and avoid them. A special school has an environment which can help them develop learning and social skills. If you notice that the child is not showing interest, keep trying as the same environment could never be created at home. Use every opportunity available there to teach them social skills over and over again. An autistic child will work towards a reward but will hide in a shell if he is threatened with a punishment. Hence, positive reinforcement would be better than threatening them with a punishment.
- Exaggerated sensory responses are common among autistic children which easily distract them and keep them from learning. Certain sounds may distract them or the touch of certain material may cause them to recoil or smell of certain foods, perfumes, air fresheners, etc may cause them to gag which would be normal for most other children. Please do not get upset with this and be considerate with these types of children. Overstimulation may seem like a temper tantrum but it is actually not and may lead the child to cause hyper-response. Tackling such situations need patience and skills.
- Autistic children need redirection throughout the day. The behaviors can be stereotypic or repetitive when they feel excited, bored or stressed. Their teachers and classmates need to be aware of this and be requested to deal with them more empathetically in such situations.
- Autistic children do not have the capability to differentiate the age and talk what they see in front of them. For example: they may tell you straight on face that your breath has a bad odour. Do not get offended or scold them for this and take it as a part of humor when you deal with such children otherwise they will recoil and never learn. Kids with autism are not scary but they are just different. Educating yourself well enough after reading all the points mentioned will help you to deal with them more respectfully and help them to be as normal as possible.
Treatment for Autism:
- Conventional medicines only treat the symptoms and suppress them rather than giving a long term relief. As soon as the dose wears off the child could become hyper again and symptoms could get worse.
- Supportive treatments like behaviour therapy and communication therapy could be of great help.
- Alternative treatments like Homoeopathy are highly recommended in children suffering from autism because:
- Homoeopathic medicines show positive effects in development and behaviour.
- Homoeopathy is a holistic and multifactorial approach and hence the detailed understanding of pregnancy history of the mother of an autistic child, the behaviour patterns in the family are of great help to understand and treat the case accordingly.
- Every child suffering from autism is different and homoeopathic medicines are prescribed on the basis of complete case history and do not have any specific medicine like conventional treatment.
- Homoeopathic medicines being free from side-effects can be easily administered to autistic children as they require long term treatment.
- Homoeopathic medicines help to improve responsiveness, improve the ability to comprehend, reduce associated complaints and help to build the child’s immunity.
- Homoeopathic medicine helps to reduce irritability, anger and crankiness in autistic children and do not have any side-effects when the treatment is withdrawn.
- Homoeopathic medicines improve the overall quality of life of the child as well as the family of an autistic child.