Autism is one of the fastest growing developmental disorders in the world today. The number of individuals diagnosed has increased 120 percent since the year 2000. As that number grows, schools are looking for increasingly effective tools to help children deal with the disorder, and one of those tools has turned out to be yoga. The video shows a school in Bronx training children on the autism spectrum from moderate to severe to high functioning. Our own Vishal Srinivas and other individuals have practice yoga at home. Have you tried it for your child? What results have you witnessed?
Dr. Mona Delahooke sheds light on the misconception that most ‘normal’ people harbor – that because an individual cannot talk, he cannot think. She explains that she had a conversation with a young man on the autism spectrum who communicates using an iPad. When she told him that she was writing a post about how the term ‘non-verbal’ is misused, his eyes lit up and he typed out the challenges he encounters because of people’s stereotypes. Do read the insightful post to understand what our priorities must be to help children overcome the challenges of communication.
Staying on the topic of communication, here is something to ponder on. We often correlate the quality of communication to the number of words used. However, in this article, Kamini Lakhani points out that communication is much more than words. Parents may feel that it is essential to make the child speak as soon as possible, but critical aspects of communication (the aspects that we take for granted) have to be addressed first to build a strong foundation for the child to be able to communicate – either verbally or non-verbally.
In 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Center for Health Statistics released reports stating that the prevalence of autism in children between the age groups 3 to 17 years increased about 80 percent from 2011-12 to 2014. From 1 in 80 (about 1.25 percent), the number has shot up to 1 in 45 (almost 2.25 percent). However, the increase in children being diagnosed is largely being attributed to changes in the questionnaire and because more parents are coming forward to get their children diagnosed.
A Savant explains why individuals on the spectrum avoid eye contact [VIDEO]
That many educators or therapists interrupt the flow of a conversation with a “look at me” is well known. It’s difficult for children with autism to keep up once they are forced to look at someone. “It’s a constant reminder of what he is doing wrong according to neuro-typical norms and this damages his self esteem”, said a parent. The aim of Remrov (the person in this video), is to explain why people with autism do things differently, to make people aware that certain things are okay for individuals on the spectrum and should not be forced upon them. Do spare eight minutes to watch this informational video.
The ‘I Support Foundation’ tea stall in Bangalore is one of the most pleasant and friendly tea stalls in the city. It has a small table with flasks and peanuts, earthen pots and young people playing music to drown out loud noises. In this pleasant environment of tea and music, the youth at the stall talk to customers about autism and spread awareness about the condition. The co-founder Juhi Ramani has a younger brother who lives with autism and wants to spread awareness about the special care needed by such individuals so that they can pursue a life of dignity and independence.
This post by Laura Rullkoetter shows how the most confident among us can sometimes go wrong in interacting with individuals and children with autism. She shares her experience of having a child with autism in her journalism class whom she was sure she could handle because she had taught several students with varying degrees of autism. Yet, despite her best efforts and experience, she failed him as a teacher. Complacency can seep in anytime, and can have disastrous results, as Laura experienced. Read on to know why. It is a massive eye opener for all of us who think that we understand autism well.
Unemployment among individuals with disabilities has been in double digits all but two months since 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Now, Rutgers University in America has announced plans to address this issue, especially for individuals with autism, with the help of donations from former Viacom, CBS and more. The Rutgers Center for Adult Autism services on their campus will provide adults with autism resources to live and work independently with the support of clinical staff and Rutgers graduate students.The goal of the program is to capitalize on the campus setting, its public transit system, recreational facilities, and large supply of hourly jobs to provide individuals with autism the support needed to live fulfilling lives.
Kamini Lakhani is the founder and director of SAI Connections. She has been providing services in the field of autism for more than 25 years and is the authorized director of Professional Training for RDI in India and the Middle East. She is also the mother of a young adult with autism.