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World Autism Awareness Day: 7 Ways To Sensitize Family And Caregivers To Support Children With Special Needs


World Autism Awareness Day, observed on April 2 each year, serves to raise awareness about autism and promote efforts to educate, empower, and support individuals affected by the condition. This year’s theme, “Empowering Autistic Voices,” highlights the importance of amplifying the voices of those with autism to provide them with more support and autonomy.

In creating a more inclusive society, it is essential to eliminate 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, Head Consultant, Mental Health and Behavioural Science at Artemis Hospital Gurugram further explains, “Parents and family members need to equip themselves with all the necessary information about the various conditions of special needs. This includes knowing about their causes, symptoms, and potential challenges.”

“In addition to 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 familial relationships. Also, schools should conduct regular workshops and training sessions to equip parents with the necessary skills to support their child’s unique needs effectively”, Dr Sonam Kothari, Co-Founder and CEO of Butterfly Learnings further adds.

Simple Ways To Become More Involved and Sentized towards Autistic Kids

Here are simple and efective ways to sensitize family and caregivers to support children with special needs shared by Dr Sarmistha Chakraborty, Consultant Psychiatrist, Manipal Hospital Salt Lake, Kolkata:

Awareness: The awareness of the needs of special children is very low among parents. It’s very important to convince parents that their child has special needs, and needs a very different kind of instructional method.

Educating the parents and families: Parent and guardian participation to ensure that there is no form of comparison with other children. It is important to understand that every child is different and so is their need.

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

Encouraging inclusion: Going to school and deciding upon the education plan for them. Parents should also be fully aware of the rights of their children to have an inclusive education.

Professional Guidance: Paediatric occupational therapists are allied health professionals who focus on their resumption of age-appropriate functions (occupation), be it eating, drinking, sleeping, talking or playing.

Engagement: Self-engagement is always a concern for children with autism, slow learners and those who have other issues since doing any new task is difficult. So, parents are encouraged to facilitate engagement more therapeutically, using home resources.

Workshops: Encourage them to engage in workshops or support groups which will help in raising awareness. 

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