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Raising the Autistic Children

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14th-Apr-2017       
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Gazi Shariful Hasan :
Ayesha had given birth three healthy children. Ovi was the youngest of her offspring. After three years of his birth she noticed that something was in the wrong with the child in spite of his sound physical growth. Ovi did not respond when his name was called. He always made a weird sound while shaking his hands before his eyes in a peculiar manner and most conspicuously he showed little signs of developing the ability of speech when expected. He was diagnosed autistic by hospital soon after. Till that Ayesha was not known with the meaning and symptoms of autism. That was a shocking experience for her after realizing that her son was showing psychological abnormalities. Her endless struggle began to help Ovi build up in a person who is capable to adapt to the world and survive.
What is Autism? The Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that can have significant implications on a child's ability to function and interface with the world around them. The disorder spans a spectrum from the least affected to the most severely affected. Those with the most severe disability need a lot of help with their daily lives whereas those that are least affected may not.
The three main domains that are affected by the disorder are speech or communication, social skills, and behavior. Symptoms manifest before age 3 years, though children may be diagnosed after the age of three years in many cases. Some children manifest symptoms very early in life with up to half of parents noticing these symptoms in the first year of life.
Almost all parents notice symptoms within the first two years of their child's life. Further, although symptoms may improve with time, they generally last throughout life. Now a day this issue is emerging slowly in our country. We have to focus properly and address autism otherwise it would be a national crisis after few years.
Autism is generally known as a complex mental disability. ASD stands for Autism Spectrum Disorder and can sometimes be referred to as Autistic Spectrum Disorder.
Most of the experts believe that autism presents itself during the first three years of a person's life.  A neurological disorder directly affects on normal brain function, development of the person's communication and social interaction skills.
Autism is a complex developmental disorder which has a strong genetic basis. It affects information processing in the brain by altering how nerve cells and their synapses connect and organize though, how this occurs is not well understood yet.
There are several certain symptoms of autism that a baby shows early enough. These symptoms should be taken into cognizance very carefully by the parents. Any short of impairment in social interaction which children don't like to respond to his/her own name, do not imitate others, lack interests to friends, and so on. Presumably half of children with autism are slow to talk; some of them cannot speak until two or three years of their age, some of them can speak a few words, but cannot communicate with people normally. Besides, they mostly avoid eye contact while talking and they often repeat what you said instead of responding or keep saying a sentence.
They remain attached to one particular toy or object, such as wheels, circular wooden sticks, and other things. They perform repetitive movements, like rocking, spinning or hand-flapping.
The best way to prevent autism is early diagnosis and early treatment. The signs of autism usually develop gradually. According to the U.S. National Institute of Health (NIH), as of the time of writing, there is no curative medication for ASD or its core symptomatology. According to the NIH, treatments include the following modalities: (1) Early intervention services give children the best start possible and the best chance of developing to their full potential. (2) Behavior management therapy modality attempts to reduce unwanted behaviors and increases or reinforces desirable behaviors. (3) Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) modality attempts to enable the person with autism learns to identify and change thoughts that lead to problem feelings or behaviors in particular situations. (4) Educational and school based therapies should be provided by the child's school specially designed instructional services and an Individualized Educational Program. (5) Speech therapy enables the individual to enhance both their verbal or spoken skills and non-verbal communication skills to enhance their ability to interact with others. (6) Social skills training teaches children the skills they need to interact with their peers.
It includes repeating and reinforcing certain behaviors. (7) Occupational therapy helps people with autism spectrum disorder do everyday tasks by finding ways to work within and make the most of their needs, abilities, and interests. (8) Physical therapy includes activities and exercises that build motor skills and improve strength, posture, and balance. (9) Although there is no curative medication available, health care providers often use medications to deal with a specific behavior, such as to reduce self-injury or aggression. (10) Proper nutrition is important given that children with ASD may be very particular with the foods they eat. Families should seek the advice of a qualified nutritionist or dietitian before adopting any special diets.
The best age for autism treatment is from 3 to 6 years of their age. During this period, children have few ingrained habits and their brains grow fast, it is relatively easier to prevent autistic behaviors. Although there is no research-based evidence to prove that 'the earlier the better'.
Autism knows no geographical boundaries - it affects individuals and families. Bangladesh Government has established a centre for autism on the premises of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU). It is called Centre for Neurodevelopment and Autism in Children (CNAC). This is an initiative from government side to establish a nationwide Pediatric Neurodevelopment and Autism related management, training and research centre in Bangladesh.
In addition to that, it has also established a 'day care centre' in a 'healing and autism friendly environment'. Government made two laws: National Trust Act for "Neurodevelopment Disabilities 2013" and "Disabled Persons Right and Security Act 2013". Acts are not all, but these would help ease the wayto prevent autism.

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