Dr. SADIA KHANUM
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) manifests in early childhood and is characterized by qualitative abnormalities in social interactions, markedly aberrant communication skills, and restricted repetitive behaviors, interests, and activities. ASD is the fastest growing developmental disability. Autism is known as a “spectrum” disorder because there is wide variation in the type and severity of symptoms people experience. ASD occurs in all ethnic, racial, and economic groups. Although ASD can be a lifelong disorder, treatments and services can improve a person’s symptoms and ability to function.
About 1 in 100 children in India under age 10 has autism, and nearly 1 in 8 has at least one neurodevelopment condition. The estimate for neurodevelopment conditions is about 10 times higher than the 1.3 percent reported in India’s 2011 census.
Raising a child with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can be an overwhelming experience for parents and families. The pervasive and severe deficits often present in children with ASD are associated with a plethora of difficulties in caregivers, including decreased parenting efficacy, increased parenting stress, and an increase in mental and physical health problems compared with parents of both typically developing children and children with other developmental disorders.
In addition to significant financial strain and time pressures, high rates of divorce and lower overall family well-being highlight the burden that having a child with an ASD can place on families, with all of these parents have low quality of life.
These parent and family effects reciprocally and negatively impact the diagnosed child and can even serve to diminish the positive effects of intervention. However, most interventions for ASD are evaluated only in terms of child outcomes, ignoring parent and family factors that may have an influence on both the immediate and long-term effects of therapy.
It cannot be assumed that even significant improvements in the diagnosed child will ameliorate the parent and family distress already present, especially as the time and expense of intervention can add further family disruption. Thus, a new model of intervention as a parent training is a unique approach that is accessible and one of the most promising methods for promoting long-term behavioral improvements in children with ASD and helps parents to cope up with daily challenges.
Backed by decades of research, parent training are psycho-therapeutic techniques in which occupational therapist teach parents effective parenting skills and behaviors, so that parents are the main drivers of change for their children.
Occupational therapist can guide parents or caregivers for home based intervention techniques by maintaining parental engagement throughout treatment and can empower them with the knowledge through different modes of training for their child issues so parent can understand their child in better ways. Third, occupational therapist can help Parents in Improving Stress-Coping Capability and to deal with Anxiety, and Depression. With Parental training caregivers can go a long way towards helping their children. Learning will make daily home life easier for parents and child with ASD.
(The Author is Peadiatric Occupational Therapist, Consultant, Vimhans Hospital)