Instead of Punishment: For Autistic Kids

Autism is "A chronic developmental disability with combination of sensori-motor and behavioral characteristics along with cognitive disabilities." Autism itself is a very complex condition and can make life a challenge. Dr. Leo Karner is the person who first identified 11 children with Autism. However, By the bless of science we know more about the genetic makeup of humans. A French team of scientists has identified two mutated genes that appear to cause autism. Both genes are located on the X- chromosome, which makes sense. It can occur either of two times: At Birth and up to the age of 30 months. If your autistic child does lose his temper or self-control, punishment will only lower his self-concept even further. The child feels bad enough about losing control; punishment will make him also feel guilty and embarrassed. Instead of punishment, the child needs something that will help him regain his self-control. A quiet place such as his own room, away from the stress will help more than anything else. When the brain becomes disorganized, don't think punishment. Instead, think of controlling the sensory input from the environment to help organize that brain.

First reduce the sensory overload and second provide sensations that are organizing.

A hairy toy, a favorite blanket or familiar pillows provide the type of sensations the child needs. Hugging or holding the child is even better for some children. Rocking in a rocking chair may help. For the young children a tepid bath may be relaxing. Slow rubbing down the middle of the back increases the organization of the brain; do not rub up the back, for this move the hairs on the skin opposite to their direction of growth and may produce defensive reactions. Out door activities will provide Proprioceptive input that may calm the child's nervous system - especially if the weather is cool, since cool air helps to modulate the impulse flow from the skin and often reduces hyperactivity.

Apart from this problem a autistic child may show various physical, behavioral and sensory integrative problem. Sensory integrative therapy, conductive education, Montessori approach, Rehabilitation approach etc are applied by an Occupational Therapist globally. In addition, with all the problem, kids will have a lot of functional limitations. So one should focus on each and individual problem with a great importance.

Md. Syfuzzaman Khan

The author is an Occupational Therapist, Lecturer & Clinician.

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