What is Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD?
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodegenerative ailment that impairs the basic functions in individuals such as speech, motoring skills, basic cognitive functions, etc. This occurs due to reduced flow of blood to specific parts of the brain. The symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD can start reflecting in children from as early as 12 to 18 months. Medical experts specializing in Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD have been involved in relentless research across the world to find adequate relief or treatment options for autistic kids.
How can parents improve the quality of life for kids with autism?
It is a tough challenge for the autistic kids as well as their parents as they try and cope with the symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Most parents go through severe emotional upheaval due to the varying behavioral patterns that are associated with autism spectrum disorder. These behavioral changes affect the autistic kids in numerous ways and can lead to disruption in social engagement and daily interaction.
It is imperative for parents to ensure that their autistic child is exposed to a conducive environment wherein due care is exercised while imparting education or other related activities. Autistic children are very sensitive to their surroundings and are not receptive to change easily. These kids need that additional support to improve their basic skill sets such as motoring abilities, speech therapy, etc. These aspects can be achieved by choosing a right educational system wherein the school imparts requisite programs that provide autistic kids with a better chance to overcome their limitations.
The path-breaking pilot project for kids with ASD at the Marangaroo Primary School:
Every parent dreams of providing their autistic child with a schooling system that has all these positive attributes. This dream has been realized to a large extent at this school in Western Australia (WA).
The Marangaroo Primary School, based in the northern suburbs of Perth is one of the five schools that have adapted an innovative program that is dedicated to provide relief to kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This program has been initiated by Peter Collier, the former education minister with a planned investment of 32 million dollars that will be spread across 16 programs that are being introduced throughout Western Australia (WA) by 2020. The main focus of this incredible program is to impart intensive training sessions to students with ASD, thereby instilling the required confidence and ability that will help them integrate into the mainstream classes in a seamless manner.
This program is based on the WA curriculum and the main focus is to tackle issues such as repetitive behavior, lack of social interaction, slackened motoring skills and other cognitive abilities that get impaired due to Autism Spectrum Disorder. The children are enlisted in this program only after going through a detailed ASD evaluation. The school has devised distinctive ways to ensure that the kids are comfortable with their environs.
There are three unique homerooms that have been named after famous Australian animals:
The Possums: For students in the pre-primary or kindergarten.
The Koalas: For students between the ages of 1 and 3.
The Quokkas: For students between the ages of 4 and 6.
The program comprises a faculty of one main program coordinator, three teaching staff and eight project assistants.
Ground-breaking improvements have been observed in the behavioral patterns of autistic kids after parents admitted them into this program that has been specifically designed for ASD related cases at the Marangaroo Primary School.
Listed below are two cases wherein significant improvements have been observed:
- Little Mikayla, a 11 year old child with ASD had an inherent phobia about touching any paper, but is now completely at ease after being admitted into the program and looks forward to attending school every single day.
- Hussain, a 4 year old toddler found it difficult to form a sentence of two to four words but has displayed tremendous improvement in forming 4 – 5 word sentences without much ado after attending the program for a few months.
This positive feedback has been extremely encouraging for the program innovators whilst they propose to cover an approximate figure of 344 autistic individuals under this incredible life-changing initiative by 2020!