Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is one of the most common disorders that are prevalent in children today. According to the NHS research, the number of patients jumped from nearly 68,000 to just over 93,000 between January-December 2021 alone. They have difficult time adjusting to their social environment. Interacting and expressing their emotions is hard for them even with their loved ones. Childcare service plays an important role in lending support to children with special needs and their families.
Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder have slow cognitive development. Almost 40% of children with ASD are nonverbal, 25% might gain some language skills, but would lose them later. There are also cases with children who start communicating later in life. They would have delayed milestones, such as they begin smiling by 6 months. Coos and babbles by 12 months. The child might develop some speech by 16 months and start communicating using single words.
One might observe the symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder in children between ages 8 to 10 months. The child with ASD might not respond to their name by the time they turn one. They might not encourage interactions such as playing, communicating or lift their arms indicating they want to be lifted. Children with ASD also reject physical contact, avoid eye contact and refuse to be comforted when upset. They have hard time recognizing their or other person’s emotions.
Struggles in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder might have delayed speech and underdeveloped language skills. They have the tendency of repeating the same term over and over (echolalia). As mentioned above, they have hard time recognizing expressions, emotions and body language. They struggle with concentration; the child might find it hard to remain on one subject while trying to communicate.
Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder might display repetitive movements such as rocking, jumping or twirling showing signs of hyper behaviour. They have impulsive behaviour and could develop fixation with certain things or objects. Once they get accustomed to specific routines and habits, the slightest change might result in getting them upset. They have tendency to get aggressive with themselves and others when upset. One can reach out to the child social care services through the council of their bourough.
There are several ways of helping a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD):
Caring for a child with special needs can be one of the most difficult tasks for the family. Parents can assign a care worker with child care services. There are family oriented care workers who possess professional training to cater to the needs of a special child. They also lend emotional support to other family members.
As already mentioned, children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have delayed milestones, they can get great help from being monitored closely by a Developmental Paediatrician. As they grow, they would be able to receive more assistance in regulating behaviours, general development and combating learning hurdles.
Connecting with a speech therapist would be helpful childcare service in improving communication with an Autistic child. Even if the child has delayed speech or completely nonverbal, the therapist would work around and implement different methods for the child to express themselves.
People with Autism may develop differently and achieve milestones at a different pace than the rest of us. However, they perform exceptionally well in other areas. It could be that a child with delayed speech may excel at arts or music. Some children have high IQ levels and may perform remarkably well on competitive tests.