Helping an autistic child
- By Dr. Arijit Ghosh
There is no complete cure for autism spectrum disorder. Treatment is mainly supportive. Adequate supportive care to the child is the mainstay of the treatment. Early diagnosis is essential for early initiation of supportive therapy.
With proper supportive care, a child can lead a normal life.
Provision of proper supportive care
Providing supportive care to an autistic child can be emotionally challenging and physically exhausting for the parents. The following measures are needed to be adopted by the parents for the betterment of the child:
- Team of professionals -
A team of professionals is required for proper supportive care. The team may consist of a therapist, teacher, and social worker who are familiar with autism. In order to provide such a team to the child, help may be sought from various government and non-government organizations.
- Learning about autism -
Proper understanding of the disorder is required for the parents and other close family members of the child. This will enable them to decrease the stress associated with raising an autistic child. The parents must also know the educational rights of the autistic child.
- Reach out to other families with an autistic child -
This approach is beneficial for the child as well as the parents. The parents can share useful advice and together may form a support group for parents and the autistic child.
- Manage medical records -
The parents of the autistic child should keep proper records of the treatment and supportive measures. This will help the parents to monitor the progress of the child.
- Look for newer therapies -
Researchers are always in pursuit of newer therapies to help in development of the autistic child. The parents should look out for and seek proper understanding of such relevant data.
Awareness regarding autism spectrum disorder is required by the society. The parents of an autistic child may feel the stress in raising such a child. The society can help by being compassionate and sensitive towards the autistic child and its parents.
Presently, various support groups of government and non-government origin are available to provide education and supportive care to autistic children. These support groups work towards the same goal:
- Identification and management of children with autism.
- Provide them education.
- Work in collaboration with doctors to provide necessary therapies.
Promotion of growth and development
Children with autism not only need therapies for improvement of their behavior and communication skills, but also for healthy physical development. They require proper diet to maintain ideal body weight. They must also be encouraged to participate in physical exercise and activities to achieve all-round development.
It is our (parents, teachers, friends, and society) collective responsibility to provide autistic children with the necessary emotional support so that they build self-esteem, confidence, and friendship and their childhood is pleasant and not scarred forever.