21 April 2016
Like every other child, children living with autism deserve love and care from their family.
The most important thing is not only for parents to identify and acknowledge their child has an ailment but to let the child know that despite what ailment he or she has, they care for him just the same.
Autism is a lifelong, developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people, and how they experience the world around them.
Research proves that people with autism have also been known to experience over or under-sensitivity to sounds, touch, tastes, smells, light or colours.
In a country like Nigeria where mental health problems are largely unknown, it is important for parents, teachers and the general society to be educated on what autism is.
It is important to prevent children living with autism from being discriminated against, stigmatised or bullied by their classmates, teachers and the society at large.
It is important for the government to sensitise parents on mental health conditions that their children may have and encourage them to take their children on noticing any issues to child psychologists.
To become better equipped to make well informed decisions on a child with autism as a parent, teacher or guardian, it is important to take note of the following:
- First take your child to a child psychologist for diagnosis: Although these are not common in Nigeria, some schools and hospitals have them. It is important for there to be more psychologists in Nigeria, this would make life a much better place for children living with autism.
- Learn about autism: The more you know about autism spectrum disorders, the better equipped you’ll be to make informed decisions for your child.
- Accept your child as he is: Rather than focus on how your autistic child is different from other children, practice acceptance. Enjoy your kid’s special quirks, celebrate small successes, and stop comparing your child to others. Feeling unconditionally loved and accepted will help your child more than anything else.
- Positive reinforcement can go a long way with children with autism, so make an effort to praise them when they act appropriately or learn a new skill, being very specific about what behaviour they’re being praised for.
- Don’t give u:. Don’t jump to conclusions about what life is going to be like for your child. Like everyone else, people with autism have an entire lifetime to grow and develop their abilities.