Workshop-Demystifying Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Posted by on May 28, 2021 in School News | Comments Off

An online workshop on Demystifying Autism Spectrum Disorder was conducted by The Institute of Mental Health & Life Skills Promotion, Moolchand Medcity from 20-22 May 2021. The resource person was Ms Aprajita Dixit, child and adolescent psychologist. She introduced the audience to the nature of Autism Spectrum Disorder and topics like assessment measures for the diagnosis of children with Autism. She also spoke about the intervention of school managements in such cases.

The workshop began with a quote- ‘Autism is not a disability, it’s a different ability’. The term Autism is derived from the Greek word ‘autos’, meaning ‘self’. Autism is described as the withdrawal into one’s inner world. Individuals with autism are different from each other and cannot be placed in a common category. They possess the following characteristics.

Impaired social interaction

Impaired communication

Restricted, repetitive and stereotype behaviour and interests

Other characteristics include inappropriate giggling, a lack of fear of danger, insensitivity to pain, avoidance eye contact, preference for being alone, difficulty in expressing needs, repeating the words or phrases spoken by others, inappropriate response to sounds and a habit of spinning objects.

Ms Dixit then talked extensively about Autism and mentioned that since it is a complex disorder, assessment is recommended by a multidisciplinary team including a child psychologist, special educator, occupational therapist and a speech therapist. She added that parental interview, interaction with the child, hearing and visual screening are also needed at regular intervals. Some assessment measures discussed were:

§ Modified checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M- CHAT)

§ Autism Spectrum Screening Questionnaire. (ASSQ)

§ Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS)

§ Gilliam Autism Rating Scale (GARS)

§ Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS)

§ Autism Diagnostic Interview Revised (ADI-R)

§ Indian Scale for Assessment of Autism (ISAA)

She affirmed that for an effective treatment of the condition, only professionals registered with the Rehabilitation Council of India (R.C.I.) are eligible.

Ms Dixit then talked about the need to identify the disorder at an early stage. According to her, early identification helps the team begin with specific intervention. The core features of intervention include social communication, cognitive functioning, integrated classroom placements, promoting independence and encouraging appropriate behaviour. She also mentioned the A-B-C Model of desired behaviour, where A stands for Antecedent, B refers to Behaviour and C stands for Consequence. She added that desired behaviour should be rewarded immediately to help bring a positive change in the individual.

Ms Dixit ended the session by advising the audience to never discuss the child’s behaviour in his/her presence and to deal very carefully with such cases. She reminded the attendees to always respect the privacy of the individual and keep such cases confidential.

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