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25 May 2019, Edition - 1411, Saturday

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Coimbatore

Focus on special care for autistic children, says expert

Covai Post Network

Coimbatore: The first rigorous estimate of the country’s autism prevalence says roughly 23 in every 10,000 children have autism. An event was organised here to explain how these special kids needed to be treated fairly while also creating awareness on the illness.

Studies point out that there is a dramatic increase over the rate estimated a decade ago, said Deepa Malini, founder of Autism and Beyond Centre in Goldwins. It offers developmental therapies to improve social emotional and sensory abilities of children diagnosed with autism.

Deepa, a certified developmental therapist, says, “Autistic individuals are far different in their developmental milestones. Our focus should be on recognising and building on them first before hitting on academics.” Causes for autism are still unknown with researchers saying it could be due to genetic and metabolic and environmental factors.

“We constantly give instructions to children at every point, thereby never allowing them to think or be creative. World Autism Awareness Day is observed on April 2 with the focus this year being empowerment of women and girls with autism.

She also spoke about the Floortime founder the late Dr Stanley Greenspan who said, “Early relationships and emotional, affective interactions are the stepping stones for developing social interaction and communication as well as academic thinking. By following these approaches, these individuals will be able to think, relate and communicate their interest encouraging them to take decisions.”

Deepa is currently working with 14 children who are offered therapies depending on their developmental levels. The centre also focuses on offering early intervention therapies for children between 2 and 6 years old.

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