Thursday, July 30, 2009

Case study of an autistic child

Vinesh lives in his own world, playing with his fingers and shaking involuntarily, sometimes throwing temper tantrums and other times destroying what ever comes in his hand. I see him pull out cane-threads from the mat under him, joining it to make a long string and then stretching and pulling and rolling it over and over. His teacher asks him to stop fidgeting and he folds the string and stuffs it into his pocket, but only momentarily and then, he is again, unrolling the string and playing with it over and over again. He shows no interest in the class activities and will respond only when his instructor gives him a personal attention. His teacher says that he is very cooperative only when given 'one-to-one' attention and he is quite independent in his self care activities. He can paint, draw and perform pre-vocational skills. He is able to follow instructions and is able to ape the actions if given individual help, but for most part of the day, he is hyperactive and lives in a world of his own.

Vinesh is a case of an autistic child.

Autism is a brain development disorder characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior.

Autism is a complex lifelong developmental disorder, and has no cure, medical or therapeutic. However, through early intervention, many children have been able to lead productive and meaningful lives with support from their family, friends and professionals

Research indicates that giving early intervention in the form of specific and appropriate training methods that are tailored to your child's needs and learning style is the one way to help your child reach his/her maximum potential. Prior to this, it is important that a special educator take a detailed assessment of your child's strengths and difficulties to develop an individual education plan for your child. There are a number of intervention styles/methods, and you would want to choose that would benefit your child most.

Autism primarily affects the areas of communication, social skills, and thought and behaviour.

About a third to a half of individuals with autism do not develop enough natural speech to meet their daily communication needs. Differences in communication may be present from the first year of life, and may include delayed onset of babbling, unusual gestures, diminished responsiveness, and vocal patterns that are not synchronized with the caregiver. for example, they may look at a pointing hand instead of the pointed-at object and they consistently fail to point at objects in order to comment on or share an experience. Autistic children may have difficulty with imaginative play and with developing symbols into language.

Autistic individuals display many forms of repetitive or restricted behavior, such as:

Stereotypy is repetitive movement, such as hand flapping, making sounds, head rolling, or body rocking.

Compulsive behavior is intended and appears to follow rules, such as arranging objects in a certain way.

Sameness is resistance to change; for example, insisting that the furniture not be moved or refusing to be interrupted.

Ritualistic behavior involves the performance of daily activities the same way each time, such as an unvarying menu or dressing ritual. This is closely associated with sameness and an independent validation has suggested combining the two factors.

Restricted behavior is limited in focus, interest, or activity, such as preoccupation with a single television program or toy.

Self-injury includes movements that injure or can injure the person, such as eye poking, skin picking, hand biting, and head banging.

For many children, autism symptoms improve with treatment and with age. Some children with autism grow up to lead normal or near-normal lives. Children, whose language skills regress early in life, usually before the age of 3, appear to be at risk of developing epilepsy or seizure-like brain activity. During adolescence, some children with autism may become depressed or experience behavioral problems. Parents of these children should be ready to adjust treatment for their child as needed.

For further support and help in managing autistic child, read the answer as many questions about autism, dealing with behaviors, and other issues raised by families in India HERE

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