What is the difference between children with Autism and other so-called ‘normal’ children? What causes barriers to be built between Autistic children and the rest of the world? Why are children with Autism discriminated against? And why are they perceived as being mentally unstable? Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a condition that is still not understood by the majority of people. And like most things that are not understood, it leads to a lot of misconceptions. This in turn leads to discrimination against kids with Autism and they never really get a chance to prove that they are capable of so much more. Parents of Autistic children fight a constant battle trying to help their children integrate into mainstream society. This puts tremendous pressure on them as they’re already struggling to deal with their special needs children on a daily basis. It is a heart breaking process for them to watch the way their children are treated by the world at large. Although there are different types of Autism, the most common symptom amongst them is an inability to communicate. There are some high-functioning autistic children that are better able to communicate and tend to verbalize their thoughts more than others. However, they often display a repetitive pattern of speech and are quite insistent on getting a response. Children who are not high functioning are often completely non-verbal and become very frustrated at not being able to express themselves. This frustration usually results in tantrums as they can’t understand why people can’t understand them. Not being able to communicate that they are hungry, or want to go to the toilet, for example, creates insurmountable barriers between them and the people around them. Caregivers are always looking for solutions to an ASD child’s communication needs and often resorts to books on Autism. Childswork Childsplay provides a wide variety of therapeutic tools and resources. These include play therapy tools, books and games designed to help parents, counsellors and teachers handle children with ASD. Communicating with an Autistic child can be an uphill task. It isn’t easy trying to say something to a child who is looking blankly at a wall. Are we getting through to them? Can they comprehend what we’re saying? What if we’re trying to teach them to tie their shoelaces? How will they learn if our words don’t register on them? These are some of the questions that caregivers can’t always find answers to. Fortunately, there are resources these days for professionals and parents of children with Autism -- like Asperger's Syndrome: A Guide for Parents and Professionals, and others -- that can help improve communications with these special children. As awareness and knowledge about ASD increase, communication skills improve in tandem. And therapies and tools are devised that can help bridge the gap between children with Autism and the communities they live in. Although the exact causes of ASD have still not been identified beyond a doubt, a great deal of research is being done on how best to handle it. And to find ways to foster greater understanding between Autistic children and the world they live in. What we know and don't know about autism: video with Wendy Chung I am: Autism Awareness Video on Youtube (shown below)
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