@Team ParentCircle My cousin sister's daughter is autistic and I shared this suggestion with her. The child is 5 years old and loves to draw and colour. S probably she can use her artistic skills and combine what this mother has done to help her daughter.
@Pallavi Chaudry Dear Pallavi, your friend's daughter feels comfortable with you and other close relatives. If children with autism do not feel comfortable around certain people it becomes very clear from their body language. My brother's elder son is autistic and he behaves in a similar manner. He is very friendly with us, but runs into the room or some corner when introduced to new people. I feel this is a common problem with autism and we have to help such children to cope with their surroundings, better.
@Pallavi Chaudry We applaud your concern, dear reader! And you're right in your observations of your friend's daughter. Children with autism are more comfortable with familiar people because of several reasons: it is harder for them to understand social interactions and situations with its nonverbal gestures and unspoken rules, and it is also harder for them to pick up social skills, i.e., skills required to carry out conversations with others and behave appropriately in social situations. It is true that your friend's daughter will be more comfortable with familiar individuals but this doesn't mean she cant be taught social skills to help her navigate social situations with ease. Some of the ways we teach children with autism social skills are: 1. Teaching stories: Use charts, pictures, or stories to depict sequence of events in common social situations such as going shopping, having a play date, or going to a restaurant. This helps teach the child what to expect in different social situations and what behaviours are expected of her. 2. Reading: Encourage your friend to read simple stories to her daughter regularly. Getting acquainted with the different characters and plot will help her understand different social situations better. 3. Modelling: This means explaining social situations to the child, as you go through the situations together. Demonstrate appropriate social behaviour (e.g., saying hi to a parent you've met at your child's school) and then explain to your child what you did (e.g., I met a parent so I said hi to her, looked at her eyes, and then smiled). It helps to explain the rationale of your actions to the child and encouraging her to ask questions. Try these strategies to help your friend's daughter make more sense of social situations and unfamiliar people around her. As she becomes more skilled, she will have higher comfort in interacting with others in such situations. All the best!
@Anonymous Dear parent, I can imagine having these options is confusing for you. However, you needn't choose between them. You could go for both, as play therapy and ABA are not mutually exclusive. Both therapist can help expand your child's social skill repertoire, albeit using different methods. The choice would be dictated by the play therapist or special educator delivering these interventions, as well as the goals of therapy. The choice also depends on your child's current level of functioning. For example, if your child with autism has some prerequisite attention and imitation skills, then video and live modelling might be an appropriate choice of intervention for him but if not, then ABA would be more appropriate. Also, play therapy and ABA can also be combined in creative ways to facilitate the goals- for example your child can be taught to become more independent through including activity schedules in his routine, wherein ABA therapy can form a component in the day. Also, both play therapy and ABA will require a lot of support from and involvement of parents in the process, as parents will need to practice in the home setting all the skills taught to the child by the therapist. Hope this information helps. All the best!
@Priya Sahay How difficult it must be for your sister to deal with this! Misconceptions about autism are very common. The biggest one being- autism is the fault of the parent- either the parenting style or the upbringing. However, this is not true. Autism is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors and is certainly not caused by faulty parenting. Your sister requires support, because she appears to be stressed due to the undue criticism. She will feel supported in the following ways: a) Surrounding herself with supportive and positive people who help her in seeking professional help (such as occupational therapy, special education, structured teaching etc.) for her son. b) Cutting out or turning a deaf ear to unsolicited advice and criticism from family members or relatives. Trusting her own intuition with her son while also educating herself about autism from reliable sources, such as ParentCircle. This will help her internalise that autism is never anyone's fault. c) Joining parent support groups for autism (both face-to-face and online) to receive emotional support and scientific knowledge. d) Taking care of herself. Too often parents of children with autism don't prioritize self-care. Regular routine for her own sleep, exercise, and recreation is extremely important. I hope your sister feels supported and strong enough to handle the negativity and feels empowered to take steps in the right direction! Best wishes
@Anonymous Thank you for the question. 1. He is going through a tough physical, emotional and sensorial transitioning. The changes he is going through are very much a part of his growing up. If we can help this child through this phase, he will be able to transition from the future stage to stage much better. Transitioning from a youngster to a young adult is very traumatic for the children with autism. Their voice breaks, sexual maturity starts taking place, emotional spikes just rock their very foundations. Least amount of instruction is needed. Any other communication to him has to be as a suggestion and offered for choice making. Please allow time and space for him to make a choice. He may not make a choice before he is fully ready to do so. Please respect his wishes. If you hasten him to make a choice before he is ready it can result in regret and remorse within him which may cause adverse reactions such as anger, anxiety, aggression, frustration etc. Listen, listen with your heart for his wishes. Make it easy for him to transition. He is probably terrified of these changes. Probably misses the child in him too. Allow him the space to grow up gracefully. You will rest assured have a well grounded, well rounded young man showing you a new way to live. Trust the process, trust your child. 2. It also appears that he is no different from any other teenager going through these exact same shifts. No teenager likes to be told what to do. So is it with your son. Due to the communication difficulties of the nature of autism it appears rather bigger than what it is. Please talk to the grand parents about the growing up and reason it out with them. Explain that any teenager will react in exactly the same manner. It is not personal for them, he has nothing against them but only is experiencing growing up pains. Love & light, Nandini