Autism is often called autism spectrum disorder (ASD). It is a chronic condition which impacts the nervous system and affects the overall emotional, social and physical health of the affected individual.
Autism usually occurs in the first three years of life and affects children between the ages of 3-18. Symptoms which include difficulty in communication, obsessive interest and repetitive behaviour can be diagnosed early with subsequent effective intervention.
There is no genetic or medical test that can be done to detect autism. A diagnosis requires an experienced medical professional to observe the individual carefully and then follow the internationally recognised criteria for diagnosis. It should also be noted that autism may occur alone, or may be accompanied by other diagnoses.
Everyone who has autism is different and that means some of them may need your more help. They sometimes might find it hard to make friends or say what they need or feel. Bright lights and certain colours and sounds may be difficult for them to be around.
If you meet someone who has autism or if your child has autism keep these points in mind:
1. Use the time to decrease transitional tantrums: They may need a 5 minute, 2 minute, or 1-minute warning before there is a change of activity. These warnings help them prepare for the transition.
2. Reward positive behaviour: Reinforcing language identifies and affirms specific positive actions and encourages them to continue their appropriate behaviour.
3. Focus on what you want the child to do, not what you want them to STOP doing: Minimise the use of ‘don’t’ and ‘stop.’ It's counter-intuitive to the ways most of us usually parent but it works. There are times when there's NO WAY around a don't/stop statement.
4.Remain Calm: It's exhausting, draining and frustrating.Children don't always have the language to explain what they want and need and that can be extremely frustrating for them. So you will have to be much better at being kind, calm and patient while leading by example.