According to experts, when individuals suffering from autism are exposed to the right developmental approaches and intervention procedures, they would be able to join their counterparts in the mainstream.
ASD includes several related brain disorders, with symptoms spanning the spectrum from mild to severe. People with ASD generally have trouble with social interactions and communication. They may also have repetitive behaviours. For example, a child might spend hours lining up toy cars. Some children may be unusually sensitive to certain sounds or touch.
Studies have reported that 23 in every 10,000 children in India suffer from autism. It was also estimated that there is a drastic increase in the number of children suffering from the disorder than a decade ago.
“Autistic individuals are different in their developmental milestones. Our focus should be on recognizing and building these milestones first, before hitting on academics,” said Deepa Malini, a certified developmental therapist told the media in a conference prior to ‘World Autism Awareness Day’.
She explained, "For example, a (neuro-typical) baby smiles at its parents, coos and turns its head towards sounds at two months. At six months, the infant shows curiosity and tries to reach for toys. At around a year, the infant is able to copy gestures and is shy or anxious with strangers. At three years, they are able to participate in simple pretend plays, shows affection for friends, and so on. With help in attaining the above developmental social milestones, autistic children, young adults, and even adults can follow the developmental progression approach that leads to enjoying relationships and engaging in meaningful communication."
Most experts agree that early intervention can improve a child’s quality of life for years to come. The sooner the signs are detected, the greater would be the chances of reducing the symptoms of autism.
"Once autistic individuals progress through the developmental ladder they will be able to communicate, solve problems and negotiate, understand feelings, and have meaningful conversations, thus joining their counterparts in the mainstream," Ms Deepa said.
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