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Have your child recently been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder? You are right on track with this article. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is characterized by social withdrawal, rigid and repetitive behavior, and verbal or non-verbal communication problems. Although there is no single cause of autism, it is believed to be caused by abnormalities in the … Continue reading “Parenting a Child with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Know What to Do and What Not”
Have your child recently been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder? You are right on track with this article. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is characterized by social withdrawal, rigid and repetitive behavior, and verbal or non-verbal communication problems.
Although there is no single cause of autism, it is believed to be caused by abnormalities in the brain function or structure and fetal exposure to valproic acid (Depakene) or thalidomide (Thalomid). Recent research conducted at the University of Jerusalem led by Ilan Matok, Ph.D., head of the Pharmacoepidemiology Research Lab at the Institute for Drug Research, School of Pharmacy at the Hebrew University Faculty of Medicine and doctoral student Reem Masarwa, suggested that prolonged use of acetaminophen may be linked to not only autism spectrum disorder (ASD) but also attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) agrees that autism spectrum disorder can be attributed to genetics and environmental factors.
According to the Centers for Disease Control Prevention (CDC), Autism occurs more in boys than in girls with a 4 to 1 (male-to-female). The CDC estimated in 2014 that there are as many as 1 to 59 children with autism.
If your child has just been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), the first thing you’ll worry about is how your child will cope in the coming years. You’ll worry about how things will change for you and your family; lastly, you’ll worry about the challenges you’ll face taking care of your child. These worries are usual and will pass over time. Your child will need lots of support from you, family, and friends.
What to Do and What Not to Do as a Parent
You will take up several roles once your child is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. You need to acquaint yourself with the role of teacher, care coordinator, therapist, and a parent. These won’t be easy to achieve, and you might have to be all at once.
These principles can be applied to help you advocate for your child effectively.
You should tailor your child’s treatment plan based on his/her individual needs.
What a suitable treatment plan will look like:
6. Remain consistent and on schedule
Children with varying degrees of the disorder on the spectrum prefer to stick with a routine. Make sure your habits are consistent to ensure they practice what they learn for the therapy sessions. Consistency will make learning a new skill easier for your child. It will also make it easier for them to apply the skills they knew.
7. Join support groups
There is nothing better than connecting with people who are experiencing the same issues as you. There are several support groups online and face-to-face. Find one that you are comfortable with and learn new ways to help your child. You can also share ideas to help other children.
8. Reward your child’s good behaviors
Praise your child when they have done something the right way or when they learn a new skill. Rewards will go a long way in encouraging children with autism. You can let them play with their favorite toys or give them a sticker as a reward.
9. Take care of yourself as well
You can’t take care of your child if you are not well. Many parents with children on the spectrum are busy taking care of their children to forget about themselves. Give yourself some attention so you can be there for your child.
There is no cure for autism, but some treatments can make your child feel better. The clinical manifestation of ASD will prompt that your child receives some sort of therapy.
Some autism therapies prioritize creating communication and social skills and reducing problematic behaviors. Others may focus on motor skills, food sensitivities, and sensory integration problems.
Some common autism spectrum disorder treatments include physical therapy, speech-language therapy, physical therapy, behavioral therapy, and play-based therapy.