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Thursday, 19 April 2018 | MYT 6:00 PM

6 ways to help autistic kids overcome challenges and learn skills

Individuals with autism need the family's support and encouragement. Photo: The Star/Raja Faisal Hishan

It is challenging for parents and family members to look after individuals with special needs. Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is a range of developmental disorders characterised by restricted interests and repetitive behaviours.

It also includes impairments in social interaction and verbal and non-verbal communication. It includes Aspergers syndrome and pervasive developmental disorders.

While there is no standard treatment for ASD, there are ways to help an autistic person overcome his challenges and learn new skills. Universiti Malaya’s Faculty of Education’s senior lecturer/clinical consultant Dr Madhya Zhagan shares some tips for parents and siblings on ways to deal with individuals with ASD.

Many individuals with autism are talented in art and craft. Photo: Dr Madhya Zhagan

Make an effort to communicate with your autistic child. Never give up, no matter how many attempts it takes. Walking away or shouting are not the right methods.

Find activities that are fun and educational for your special child. It will give them time to open up and connect with you.

Do not feel sad or discouraged in stressful situations. Connect with other parents who are also dealing with similar situations. Speak to individuals who work with children with special needs.

Some autistic children are gifted painters. Photo: Dr Madhya Zhagan

If your child has shown positive changes, find ways to reward them. Let them know why you are doing so and specifically, what you like about their behaviour.

Have plenty of interaction with your special child. Encourage them so they do not feel alone. A neglected child may not respond well to any treatment later in life.

Stick to a schedule throughout the day that your child can adapt to. Do not make the routine too rigid. Make the routine flexible and talk to your child about the routine.