Bengaluru: Lack of understanding of the disorder and the social stigma around living with people suffering from autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has enhanced the struggle of many parents with autistic children. Many parents still consider autism as a taboo which increases the problem, say doctors.
"Autism itself is a sensitive word for the parents to accept. It is considered a taboo," said Dr Maheswarappa B.M., Senior Consultant and HOD, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation & Sports Medicine, Sakra World Hospital.
On World Autism Awareness Day on April 2, doctors said that parents' involvement is vital and essential in their child's development.
Dr Maheswarappa said that counselling becomes important till the parents accept that their child needs help. If the parents themselves are not sure and fail to accept the fact, it becomes difficult to provide intervention and therapy. "Not long ago, people thought that autism was not a treatable condition. But with assessment, intervention and therapy, the child's functional status can be improved. Intervention plays an important role," he said.
In a similar case, the parents of one-year-eight-month-old Rajeev (name changed) noticed that his speech was delayed and he was restless and could not walk properly. They consulted a paediatrician, who found that Rajeev showed signs of ASD. Rajeev was started on comprehensive rehabilitation programmes along with counselling for the parents.
ASD is a developmental disorder that impairs the ability to communicate and interact. It consists of a varying range of conditions, skills and levels of disability. It is difficult to recognise a child who has early signs of autism, but can be identified as early as three months of age. Early intervention is the key to a better prognosis, highlight experts.
Rajeev underwent multiple therapy sessions of occupational therapy, physiotherapy, speech therapy and group sessions at Sakra for the past two years. He is now three-and-a-half-years old, goes to regular school and is able to perform well. He comes for regular follow-ups to find out if there are any deficit areas.
Some of the signs of autism include repeating words, delay in learning or talking, getting upset over minor changes and repeated emotions.
According to PLOS medicine journal 2018, one out of eight children under the age of 10 suffers from at least one neurodevelopmental disorder in the country.
At Sakra, a session for parents, 'Parents Share', to support the parents of a child with autism was held. The aim was to educate and train the parents and to give them an opportunity to socialise with other parents who require similar needs....