As we highlighted in a previous article, autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication and behavioural challenges. If your child has autism, you may find he/she has different ways of learning, moving, or paying attention.
Individuals with autism may display a range of strengths and abilities that can be directly related to their diagnosis. Learning to read at an early age, memorising and learning information quickly, thinking and learning in a visual way, as well as logical thinking, are a few of these strengths.
Researchers are of the opinion that there is not one cause of autism, and they suggest that the condition develops from a combination of genetic and nongenetic, or environmental, influences.
Parents, caregivers and teachers are advised to focus on reassurance and encouragement because positive reinforcement is a valuable tool for children with autism. Praise for the behaviours they are doing well makes them feel good – and explain what it was that you liked about their conduct.
The following tips may help those raising a child with autism.
- Reframe your child’s behaviour by taking the negative and replacing it with something positive.
- Clearly communicate what conduct is appropriate, which is inappropriate, and what the reward for good behaviour is and the consequences for bad behaviour.
- Recognise, celebrate and reinforce your child’s strengths rather than focusing on areas of deficit.
- Take advantage of resources – and remember we at Capulum College are qualified to help you help your child.
- Remember to revitalise your energy and ensure you are ready to handle whatever comes your way in a safe and healthy manner. Caring for a child with autism is demanding on your energy and time. There may be days when you feel overwhelmed, stressed, or discouraged. Take care of yourself.
- Accept your child for who he/she is. Children with ASD can be challenging. They may be restless, have trouble sleeping, eating or speaking, experience seizures, or have meltdowns of frustration or overstimulation. Life will not be ‘normal’ because autism is not a medical condition with a cure.
Hobbies such as collecting stamps, card or board games, drawing and photography can provide opportunities for enjoyment, as well as increasing self-confidence and motivation for individuals with autism. Learners with autism prefer a structured environment and report that they learn best in a variety of social settings.
A new study has revealed that routine prenatal ultrasound in the second trimester can identify early signs of ASD.