World Autism week is one of only seven official health-specific UN Days. The day itself brings individual autism organizations together all around the world to aid in things like research, diagnoses, treatment, and acceptance for those affected by this developmental disorder.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) may effect about 1 in 68 people. ASD is a range of complex neurodevelopment disorders, characterized by social impairments, communication difficulties, and restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped pattern of behaviour. It is a brain disorder that typically affects a person’s ability to communicate with others. ASD form of disease generally begins in childhood and last through adulthood.
We encounter different types of ASDs
Autistic Disorder (also called “classic” autism)… This is most general form of autism. People with autistic disorder typically have significant language interruption, social and communication challenges, and unusual behaviours and interests. Many people with this disorder may also have intellectual disability.
Asperger Syndrome… People with Asperger syndrome, have mild symptoms of autistic disorder. They might have social challenges and unusual behaviours and interests. However, they typically do not have problems with language or intellectual disability.
Pervasive Developmental Disorder- Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS)… It is called as “atypical autism”. People who meet some of the criteria for autistic disorder or Asperger syndrome, but not all, may be diagnosed with PDD-NOS. People with PDD-NOS usually have fewer and milder symptoms than those with autistic disorder. The symptoms might cause only social and communication challenges.
The exact cause of autism is not yet known, but scientists believe that it may be associated with genetic or environmental factors. There’s no cure for ASD, but speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, educational support, and a number of other interventions may help children and parents.
These activities will also renew the promise, engraved in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, to leave no one behind and ensure that all people can contribute as active members to peaceful and prosperous societies.
According to a research in the United States, autistic children can be gifted a normal life like other normal children if they are given correct guidance at the right age. Imparting Science Education in a special customized curriculum can create a massive wave of change across India.
When a child is diagnosed with autism, early inervention can help, children gain self care, social and communication skills. Autistic children responds very well to the social simplicity of dealing with robots rather than people. A great example of a school using self made robots to teach children with Autism Spectrum Disorder is Topcliff School in Castle vale,UK.
After months of research on the learning difficulties of autistic kids, I’d designed a unique sensory robotic kit and curriculum for children with special needs. Through this kit, I want to use the same methodology to teach children with ASD, as children on autism spectrum respond well to sensory activities, especially ones that are focussed on a single experience. The research suggests that some children may find deep pressure technique relaxing and lowering anxiety.
The whole kit is designed on the basis of UNICEF 2013 report. The report says audio/visual applications, mobile/computer devices, symbol based interaction, virtual reality technologies and most importantly, sensory objects should be designed to assist the autistic kits to be more active in the learning process with their instructor and their classmates or peers. The whole kit is based on step method or assembling. The self made robots will support a child centered pedagogical model that emphasises the child’s active role as a constructor and creator of knowledge.
Mohsina mentioned, I believe, every child as a different and unique being who deserve the best possible learning environment in the field of science and technology to blossom into well developed individuals. The objective is to ignite the special minds to out perform and explore their talents so that they get to know the best of scientific and interesting world of technology, because potential has no limits. Having a child with autism is something to celebrate because they are different, not less.