Make yourself aware of the capabilities that your child possesses and celebrate the World Autism Awareness Day on a positive note for a better tomorrow – for your child and yourself, says Vantika Singh.

Do not fear people with Autism, embrace them. Do not spite people with Autism, unite them. Do not deny people with Autism, accept them for then their abilities will shine.” – Paul Isaacs

The challenges that lockdown has brought on us are immense. This unexpected and sudden change has been an overwhelming experience for everyone; especially for people on the spectrum. According to reports from the UK, anxiety levels have worsened by 85%. I’m sure other countries have a similar trajectory for Autistic individuals. A year has passed, but the situation remains more or less the same. As a society, we need to think how to make it easier for autistic individuals who also face stress and anxiety in such a difficult phase in everyone’s lives.

As a parent and a family to an autistic child, one can really support them to achieve their growth targets by spending more time and focusing on their preferred interests. It is a good opportunity to engage in activities and try new things, as one has more family time and flexibility at home right now. These small steps would ensure that the kids reach their milestones sooner than one thinks and uplifts their mood and make them happier and more positive.

Achieving milestones slowly and steadily: On this note, I would like to share my son Advay’s journey of achieving his milestones slowly and steadily.

He was averse to different textures when he was younger – be it Play-Doh or solid food items on his plate. He would sometimes have a meltdown just looking at a few banana slices. I would have to feed him a semi-mashed purée at all meals. But after constant knowledge exchange with the school staff, my husband and I worked together as a team and focused on making him independent while eating. Advay took the big step around 2.5 months ago and is now an independent eater.

Also, this year on Holi, he wasn’t scared of dry powder colours and quite happily played with them and even rubbed some on my face. The same goes for sparklers during festive times. The joy and pride that I see on my son’s face is priceless. And that is enough to make my heart soar with pride!

All I want to say to the parents in a similar situation is that miracles happen when you want them to happen. Don’t give up on yourself and your child, be the change – and change will happen all around you!

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