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Inclusion Matters: Creating a More Autism-Friendly World

Hi there! 🙋‍♀️

Wassup! All good? 😃

Two days back, I went jogging at a park when I saw an autistic child playing alone in a sandbox with unique movements and limited speech. Other children made fun of him while their parents did not intervene. I felt sad and frustrated but admired the child's unique way of playing and ability to focus. I said hello, and he gave me a small wave, which gave me hope for a future where autistic people are accepted and valued for their unique capabilities.

As you know, April 2nd is recognized globally as “World Autism Awareness Day” by the United Nations General Assembly to raise awareness about autism, improve the quality of life for autistic people, and emphasize their integral role in society.

In light of this, I would like to share with you several research findings related to Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Allow me to present some compelling facts:

  • Based on recent research, it has been found that boys are more susceptible to Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) than girls, regardless of ethnicity, race, or socioeconomic status.

  • Early identification and intervention for ASD are crucial for long-term benefits in symptom management and skill development, according to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).

  • Tracking developmental milestones from infancy to age 5 can aid in the early diagnosis of ASD, which can enable timely intervention and treatment, as noted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

  • Moreover, the risk of developing ASD is increased if one has a sibling with ASD, is born to older parents, experiences birth complications, or has specific genetic or chromosomal conditions such as fragile X syndrome or tuberous sclerosis, according to CDC.

  • Interestingly, research has shown that using robots as collaborators could potentially benefit the social skill development of children with ASD, particularly in areas where they experience the most difficulty.

Even though we know about Autism Spectrum Disorder, interacting with autistic children can sometimes be confusing, leaving us unsure of how to make them feel accepted. To help, here are some tips you can use:

  • Educate yourself about autism to better understand the child's perspective and needs.

  • Create a structured routine to help the child feel secure and reduce anxiety.

  • Use visual aids such as pictures, diagrams, and schedules to help the child understand and communicate.

  • Provide sensory-friendly environments with calming lighting, minimal noise, and comfortable seating.

  • Encourage play and socialization with others while also respecting the child's need for solitude.

  • Be patient, understanding, and supportive of the child's strengths and challenges.

  • Celebrate and embrace the child's unique talents and interests.

Furthermore, here are some suitable behaviours that you can adopt when interacting with an autistic child:

  • Speak calmly and clearly, avoiding overly complex language.

  • Allow the child time to process and respond to questions or requests.

  • Avoid physical touch unless invited by the child.

  • Respect the child’s personal space and sensory boundaries.

  • Avoid sudden or unexpected changes in routine or plans.

  • Avoid making assumptions or judgments based on the child's behaviour.

  • Practice empathy and understanding towards the child's challenges and needs.

To find hospitals and clinics in India that provide treatment for Autism, click here.

Let us continue to spread awareness and advocate for the rights and well-being of autistic people, not only today but every day.

Sending good vibes,

Bonani Gupta

Counselling Psychologist

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