Our learnings on some effective handling ways of autism
- Preparing ourselves (the caregiver) first on the onset of the journey. Our acceptance is the first step.
- Learning about autism and its interventions is important. We should not get overwhelmed with too many intervention methods around. It is better not to blindly follow anything till we have complete knowledge. We must do what we feel is possible and in our reach.
- We have to store the energy and not overdo. It is important to be consistent over a longer period than doing too much only for a short time. Quality wins over quantity.
- Each child is best in his own unique ways. So it is wise not to compare my child with another child – typical or atypical.
- Experiential learning is a great learning. Children learn immensely when taken out everywhere – market, school, park, friend’s/relative’s house, picnic, travel, all modes of transport, festivals, movies etc.
- Emphasising on real life learning teaches the applicative side.
- Letting the child learn to think on his own and developing thinking skills over rote learning. Giving prompts or help when needed. Gradually removing putting words constantly in the mouth or always instructing.
- Our children may not always express fully in the typical language but 1. Understand a lot and 2. Try to express in some form. We should look at taking a lead from there. Even looking at teaching communication or concrete expression (one example we followed was parallel language). It gives a child great comfort and sense of achievement when he feels his voice is being heard or said and teaches him meaningful language.
- Teaching activities of daily living early in life (like toilet training, eating, taking bath etc) and letting him help in daily chores makes the child self reliant.
- A simple favourite toy or activity can be used to develop multiple skills in one go without us even realising.
- Periodic revision of things taught earlier so that the child does not forget. It is not necessary to do table top all the time but can be done in real life over a casual chat to assess whether child remembers.
- I cannot lay more stress on the importance of school. I send my child to school for all things one goes to school for (which is holistic development and not just academics). This may take a bit of extra effort from the parent to settle the child in school initially but worth the effort.
- Teaching meaningful self engagement skills.
- While learning is a lifelong process, time invested well in the initial few years can go on to make a remarkable difference in the child and our lives. We use time management skills e.g. time table.
- Talking to the child and spending time with him more often develops a special bond. There will be different phases in the child’s life and each will teach us so many things. We should not forget to be his friend, his advocate.
Copyright © 2016 Barnana Chakraborti