Following a diagnosis of autism, most families are recommended to start some kind of intervention for their child. Here’s a quick summary of the essentials.
Just a few years ago, much of the medical establishment would have quickly told you that dietary intervention has no effect on children with Autism.
Oh, how times have changed.
It’s frankly baffling that something as basic as good nutrition could ever have become so controversial. Thankfully, there is a growing body of evidence of the link between brain development and microbial gut flora… especially the foods (and antibiotics) that impact upon it.
Do consult your doctor before making changes to your child’s diet… but, generally speaking, we can all do better on a diet of mostly fresh foods and fibre.He
And, cutting out, or reducing to minimal:
sugar; high GI; processed foods; preservatives; colours.
GET REGULAR Activity
Similarly, the health-giving effects of regular exercise is often completely overlooked by many a doctor or therapist. But should good diet and exercise really go without saying? Of course not!
Diet and exercise should not be considered as “cures”… but poor diet and sedentary lifestyles can create their own problems that can complicate a diagnosis.
Speak to your doctor if you feel that exercise is not suitable for your child… it’s otherwise safe to say getting the blood circulating and switching to a fresh food diet will ensure your child behaves and sleeps at their very best… to help you get the most out of the traditional therapies that follow.
Children with high functioning autism or Aspergers may have very good language, but not such a good understanding of pragmatics (how to use language appropriately).
Many children with autism are delayed in language and many need speech therapy.
“OT” for autism addresses fine and gross motor skills issues, and largely focuses on sensory processing.
Children with autism often have issues with noises; visual overload; hyperactivity (or underactivity); balance; sensitivities to touch, smell, taste and many other things.
You can discuss these issues with an OT (occupational therapist) who will assess your child’s sensory picture and tailor a program to help with sensory processing.
Contrary to how it sounds, behaviour therapy has little to do with good or bad behaviour necessarily, but may be seen more as a training in life skills.
Some of the well known behaviour therapies for autism are ABA (applied behaviour analysis); DIR Floortime;
and RDI (relationship development intervention).
Each of these have different philosophies; it is important to consider time, financial commitment, and the style of therapy that best suits you and your child before you choose.
Whether you actively seek to get an education in autism or not, the fact is that once you receive a diagnosis of autism for your child, you can’t help it.
New words and terminology will creep into your vocabulary as you start the journey.
However if you can manage it, there are some wonderful training programs available which will help you to help your child.
The more information we have the less ‘in the dark’ we feel when it comes to autism.
Finally… don’t forget about you:
Last but certainly not least – in many ways I would like to put this at the top of the list but parents have an urgent need to get therapies in place for their child first.
I cannot emphasise strongly enough how vital it is to pay attention to your own wellbeing as you set out on this journey.
Managing a child’s needs can be overwhelming and exhausting, particularly as most parents can’t afford to drop everything else when they attend to autism.
Special needs child – means special needs parent/s. You need to attend to your own needs much more than ever before – it’s part of taking good care of your child.