Dear moms, recognize the strengths in children with autism

Published on: 26 July 2022, 19:00 pm IST

Children with autism have a reservoir of creative strengths. As a parent, you should know how to harness that energy and ability.

Strengths of a child with autism
Know the strengths of a child with autism. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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Have you ever thought about what makes autistic children so creative and how can this help them learn things better? Children with autism spectrum disorders are known to have many strengths and abilities. By understanding their strengths and abilities, one can help them in their development. Around 10 to 11 percent children with autism spectrum disorders are known to have some saving ability or the other.

Autism is a developmental disability because of neurological differences.

There are various ways to assess a child’s thinking and learning abilities. Professionals can perform a developmental assessment which can measure their strength in areas like non-verbal thinking skills, language and communication and movement. Professionals can also perform IQ (Intelligence quotient) tests that can measure their intellectual potential and abilities as compared to other children of the same age. IQ test is usually performed for children above 6 years of age.

But even as a parent, you must be sensitive in knowing how to deal with an autistic child.

Visual ability in children with autism

Autistic children are also known as visual learners. This ability can be used for
teaching children with autism by:

Visual strength in children with autism
Visual strength is high in children with autism. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

* Using visual clues around the house

Parents can take photos of different activities and place them in sequence as visual clues to promote learning. A parent or a therapist can look for ways to use their special interests in one area to build skills in other areas.

For example, if your child has good computer skills, they might like to learn about developing video games or learn coding. Their visual spacial abilities can help children with their graphic designing skills. If your child loves cars, they might be interested to learn about various means of transport and different types of cars.

* Utilizing their ability to memorize sight words to help them them with reading.

Autistic children often have good rote memory (learning by heart). Many autistic children can remember large chunks of information, like dialogues from movies, words to a song, number plates and so on. Parents can encourage their child to use rote memory for learning useful information, like your phone numbers, address, the alphabet, times tables etc. Children with autism spectrum can have extraordinary ability with the numerical skills which can be harnessed to improve their numerical skills and arithmetic abilities.

Don't isolate children with autism
Keep your child engaged in creative pursuits. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Some of the most known abilities seen in children on autism are special isolated skill in memory, visual, spatial abilities, calculation, drawing or music. Children with autism spectrum disorders can have savant abilities in musical skills and tend to remember and hold on to the pitch perfect musical information in mind for a longer duration as compared to their neurotypical counterpart.

Autistic artists are known to detail their drawing due to better local processing than global processing skills as compared to the neurotypical individuals. There is evidence suggesting how increased visual and auditory perceptual capacity in autism provides new avenues to explore different methods of learning and explore new talents.

The last word

Autistic children are good at following the rules, and hence can be managed well. They are good at understanding and working with rules. You can use this asset to help your child develop new skills.

Identifying and fostering special interests and abilities can help increase their self-esteem, increase their opportunities for interaction, appreciation, and open employment options for them.

Dr Himani Narula Dr Himani Narula

Dr Himani Narula Developmental and Behavioural Pediatrician Director and Co-founder of Continua kids