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World Autism Awareness Day: 7 ways to sensitize families and caregivers to support children with special needs health news

World Autism Awareness Day, observed on April 2 each year, promotes efforts to raise awareness about autism and educate, empower and support people affected by the condition. This year’s theme, “Empowering Autistic Voices,” highlights the importance of amplifying the voice of those with autism to give them greater support and autonomy.

To create a more inclusive society, it is essential to remove the barriers that hinder the development of children with special needs. A key factor in shaping the lives of these children is the support they receive from their parents and families.

Dr. Rahul Chandhok, Chief Consultant, Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences, Artemis Hospital Gurugram further explains, “Parents and family members need to arm themselves with all the necessary information about the various special needs conditions. This includes knowing their causes, symptoms. and potential challenges.” ”

“Apart from information, parents and family members need emotional support and networking opportunities. Often, they feel isolated and overwhelmed by the challenges they face, which can strain family relationships. Also, schools should conduct regular workshops and training sessions so that Parents can be equipped with the skills needed to effectively support their child’s unique needs,” added Dr. Sonam Kothari, Co-Founder and CEO of Butterfly Learning.

Easy ways to be more involved and sensitive to autistic children

Here are simple and effective ways to sensitize families and caregivers to help children with special needs shared by Dr. Sharmistha Chakraborty, Consultant Psychiatrist, Manipal Hospital Salt Lake, Kolkata:

Awareness: Awareness among parents about the needs of special children is very low. It is very important to convince parents that their child has special needs and needs a very different instructional approach.

Educating parents and families: To ensure parent and guardian participation so that other children are not compared. It is important to understand that every child is different and their needs are different.

Compassion: Encourage parents and relatives to develop empathy and understanding towards children with special needs. This will help them see the world through their child’s perspective.

Encouraging inclusion: Going to school and deciding on educational plans for them. Parents should also be fully aware of their children’s right to inclusive education.

Career Guidance: Pediatric occupational therapists are allied health professionals who focus on restoring age-appropriate function (occupation), whether eating, drinking, sleeping, talking, or playing.

Engagement: Self-employment is always a concern for children with autism, slow learners and those with other problems since any new task is difficult. Therefore, parents are encouraged to facilitate engagement more therapeutically by using home resources.

Workshop: Encourage them to get involved in workshops or support groups that will help raise awareness.

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