World Autism Awareness Day: Psychologist shares ways parents can empower children with positive strategies

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New Delhi: Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects social communication and behaviour in children. In India around 1 in 68 children are affected with Autism. As per data of India Autism Centre, boys are more commonly affected with the condition as compared to girls and the male-to-female ratio approximately stands at 3:1.

Studies have shown that caring for a child with ASD is linked with higher levels of parental stress as compared to the parents taking care of a normal child. Every year April 2 is observed as World Autism Awareness Day, hence let’s delve into empowering parents with positive strategies for caring for children with autism. While parenting a child with autism can present unique challenges, it is also a rewarding journey filled with love, understanding, and growth.

Dr Abhishek Pasari Consultant-Counselling Psychologist, Kinder Hospital told News9, “Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is crucial for effective parenting. This neurodevelopmental disorder impacts communication, social interaction, and behaviour. Each child with autism is unique, with varying strengths and challenges, emphasising the need for tailored support and understanding. One key aspect of positive parenting for autism is establishing structure and routine. Children with autism often thrive in structured environments, which provide them with a sense of security and reduce anxiety. Creating consistent daily schedules with specific activity time slots helps promote stability and predictability.”

Ways parents can empower children

Effective communication strategies are vital in fostering positive connections. Utilising visual supports, simplifying language, practising active listening, and reinforcing non-verbal communication can significantly improve communication for children with autism.

According to Dr Pasari, “Encouraging social interaction is another essential aspect of positive parenting. Setting up structured playdates, teaching social skills through role-playing and visual supports, and fostering special interests can help children with autism develop meaningful social connections. Positive reinforcement and celebrating achievements are powerful tools for behaviour management and building self-esteem in children with autism. Acknowledging and praising their efforts, progress, and resilience can go a long way in fostering a supportive relationship. Lastly, self-care for parents is crucial in providing the best possible care for children with autism. Engaging in self-care activities, seeking support from friends and support groups, and prioritising well-being are essential for parents on this journey.”

He said that positive parenting for children with autism involves understanding, empathy, and creating a nurturing environment. By implementing these strategies and adapting them to suit individual needs, parents can support their child’s growth and development effectively

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