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5 therapies that can improve an autistic child's life

Surabhi Verma, director of Sparsh for Children foundation lists 5 therapies they use to help autistic children.

Written by Surabhi Verma |Updated : February 23, 2015 6:02 PM IST

therapies for autistic childrenApril 2 is World Autism Awareness Day.

Parents of autistic children are often left wondering about what is the best treatment for them and if it all their child will improve with the help of these. The truth is, certain therapies can help your autistic child lead a better life and help them cope better with autism. Sparsh for Children, a multidisciplinary therapy centre located at Delhi helps autistic children by offering certain therapies. Surabhi Verma, Director of this foundation lists out the different ways it deals with such children.

Autism is a disorder in brain development that becomes apparent in early childhood. From the age of about eight months to three years, autistic children display other social deficits not seen in children developing normally.

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  • Autistic toddlers generally fail to use eye contact to check for parents' approval or attention.
  • Instead of pointing to an appealing object (a complex, coordinated act that involves making eye contact and guiding the caretaker's gaze), they may take someone's hand and attempt to use it as a tool to grasp the desired thing.
  • One extreme among children with autism is a low-functioning 8-year-old might appear completely detached, avoid closeness with others, and seem totally absorbed by a few inanimate objects.

Most parents believe that they will have a child and teach them everything that there is to know about the world. However, when a child has autism, it is then the child who teaches the parent; that is of course, if the parent is willing to listen and is able to tune into their language.

Most kids with autism speak in other ways than just words. Just because a child used to be able to speak a few words, then lost those words after around 18 months, does not always mean that they are going to be able to speak them again anytime soon. Nor does it mean that they understand the meaning of them anymore.

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Here are some therapies used by Sparsh for Children to help them live better.

Special education

We believe that no single treatment is best and treatment is typically tailored to the child's needs. There are many approaches and one needs to assess the child before making the treatment plan. Special education can be provided individually or in group. In addition to this, there is always a need to have social skill group therapy and communication therapy to help children overcome the difficulties.

Sensory integration therapy

Many children with autism have sensory dysfunction and this may sometimes be perceived as behaviour difficulties such as flapping, rocking, spinning. Once the child is assessed by the therapist, a formal plan helps him/her to settle down and concentrate better.

Speech development

One of the top concerns expressed by parents of newly diagnosed children with autism is whether their child will learn to speak. Many will with intervention and helpful tools. Getting your child involved in speech therapy as soon as possible is a good first step. But parents must remember that speech and language are not the same things and thus in addition to speech, many children also require language sessions.

Behaviour modification

Autistic children often miss the subtle cues that typically prompt children towards proper social behaviour. This is mainly because the diagnosis makes it difficult for the children to make friends and understand social behaviour. An exasperated look from a parent or teacher can be enough to cause many children to correct their behaviour, but children with autism are likely to need a more direct approach. If not addressed, inappropriate behaviour can lead to social isolation and interfere with learning and development, issues that can greatly alter the quality of your child's life. Thus, a carefully planned behaviour modification programme is essential from the beginning to get the child to respond.

Increase omega 3 fats

Deficiencies in essential fats are common in people with autism. This means that an autistic child is likely to need a higher intake of essential fats than the average child. And it has been found that supplementing EPA, which can slow the activity of the defective enzyme, has clinically improved behaviour, mood, imagination, spontaneous speech, sleep patterns and focus of autistic children.

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