Autism is a spectrum of neurodevelopmental disorders marked by persistent deficits in social exchange and communication. This at times is also accompanied by repetitive behaviors and lack of interest or activities that are visible in children before they reach 3 years of age. To treat these disorders is a challenge for both families and professionals. Effective interventions, such as psychological interventions in autism, play an important role in improving the lives of individuals with special needs.
The symptoms that need immediate intervention are:
- Lack of social exchange or extreme aloofness, lack of interest in activities, and empathy.
- Children with autism fail to communicate verbally or nonverbally. They are unable to decipher the tone of speech, facial expressions or body gestures. They also fail to maintain steady eye contact and indulge in speech peculiarities such as echolalia.
- A strong attachment to particular objects.
Treatment for autism begins with a thorough examination that includes tests and scans. These careful assessments help the doctors or therapists to determine the child’s specific strengths, weaknesses, and needs. Consultation with specialists help to assess neurological, genetic, medical issues (gastrointestinal, feeding, sleep disorder, sensory sensitivities, etc.), speech, and motor issues in children with autism. Factors that cause irritability and prevent the kids from leading an independent life must be treated immediately.
Psychological interventions for autism address the core deficits of the disorder such as social and communication, behavioral, cognitive, repetitive behavior (echolalia), etc. Several psychological interventions in autism aimed at improving the lives of individuals with autism include:
- Speech or communication interventions (Picture Exchange Communication System).
- Play, drama and music therapies for intensive interaction within the group to facilitate communication and overcome sensory deficits.
Psychologists also use various techniques which include emotional regulation and social skills training to help children excel in day-to-day activities. For children who are nervous and throw tantrum when faced with a sudden change, psychologists provide interventions to reduce their anxiety levels
Just as psychological interventions are necessary for children with autism, they also help parents to maintain their patients and lead a well-maintained family life. Parents of children with autism report increased levels of depression and anxiety. They face a lot of challenges and distressing situations that at times can lead towards the risk of psychological impairments which in turn can affect the wellbeing of the family.
Psychologists work with families of children with special needs with apt interventions to make their lives well organized and less stressful. When seeking intervention from professional psychologists, one must make sure that they have all the required knowledge and experience in working with children with autism and solving the problems faced by their families.