Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorder

If you see a boy throwing tantrums, bang in the middle of a supermarket, don’t just feel annoyed. Don’t mutter under your breath. The child’s action could be a meltdown because of overstimulation of his/her senses. Children with autism spectrum disorder usually find it difficult to express themselves. They are easily overwhelmed by loud noise, bright lights and all the activities around them. Children with autism find it difficult to process information that neuro-typical people like us simply filter out.

Whenever you see a not-so-typical child engrossed in his or her tab or iPad, don’t be judgmental. Chances are that the child has autism spectrum disorder. Such devices not only help in communication, they are also great tools to help children who are easily overwhelmed by activities around them. These gadgets lend a focus, usually a white noise, against a surrounding cacophony of noises that an autistic child can’t handle.

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So, the next time you see some child refusing food, or eating with both of their hands, or hand-fed by parents, stop being judgmental. It’s not uncommon for autistic children to have sensory problems with food. They may even avoid touching certain textures. Since autism spectrum disorder often affects a child’s motor skills, they struggle while eating with utensils.

Never be surprised if you see a grownup child being moved in a stroller. The child is not lazy. Strollers are necessary for many older autistic children who have poor motor skills and struggle to walk even medium distances. Such children are also known to drift away from sight. Strollers keep them on track.

People, who are not directly connected to children with autism, can still do their bit by spreading awareness. There’s more to be done in this regard than just highlighting the numbers.

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