Special needs: How parents are coming to their own aid

Apart from ASD, a developmental disorder, there are conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), cerebral palsy — another group of conditions that affects body movement — and Down Syndrome (DS), a genetic condition that causes both development and intellectual disabilities.

When her two-year-old son was diagnosed with autism, Radhika was in a state of shock and denial. "Why me?" she kept asking herself.

After several rounds of consultation with child psychiatrists and neurologists, she decided that brooding over the situation wouldn’t help. Instead, she began meeting parents of other children with autism. After enrolling her son at a special school, Radhika took up a training programme for parents to understand more about the condition.

A condition that still continues to be mistaken for mental retardation, autism or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a broad range of conditions, which hampers social skills, causes repetitive behaviour apart from affecting speech and non verbal communication.

Parenting a child with a disability is often a challenge, and can send parents into a tizzy. But, as Radhika says, learning about it and educating herself on the needs of her child has taught her a lot. “From what his actions mean to how to manage his behaviour, I have been observing ways to apply intervention, watching special educators."

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