Delaware County Medicine & Health Spring 2017 - 21

What can teachers do?
Like parents, teachers should also learn about ASD, both
when they have a child with ASD in their class and also to
aid parents and physicians with early diagnosis. Since ASD
manifests during early childhood, early childhood educators
may be able to identify signs more easily due to the amount
of time they spend with children and the ability to observe
them in social situations.
As each child with ASD is different, teachers can find the
strengths and interests of the child to create modified lesson
plans and opportunities for success. Since students with
ASD have trouble understanding the facial expressions, body
language and tone of voice, teachers should be concrete and
explicit in giving instructions and feedback. If the child's behaviors start to interfere with teaching, teachers should seek
help from parents and expert professionals to understand the
triggers and develop a plan to intervene.
Teachers should also try to implement accommodations
outlined in the IEP and communicate with parents and other
involved professionals regularly. Since transitions (changing
from one activity to another or unforeseen changes) are difficult, whenever a change in routine is expected, inform and
prepare the child beforehand. Reinforce good behavior by
rewarding the child with each success.

What is the role of medications
in treating ASD?
Medications can sometimes be used alongside behavioral
modifications for maladaptive behaviors and comorbid psychiatric conditions associated with ASD.
Attention deficit and hyperactivity, obsessive and repetitive
patterns of behaviors, anxiety, aggression, agitation, self-injurious behaviors, self-stimulatory behaviors, seizures, sleep
problems, and mood disorders may be seen in some children
diagnosed with ASD. Some children may also have associated
cognitive deficits or verbal apraxia.
Unfortunately, there is no specific medical therapy at this
time that is effective for the core symptoms of ASD; however, the symptoms associated with aforementioned comorbid
psychiatric conditions can be treated so that appropriate
therapies can be implemented. Prognosis depends on the
severity of diagnosis and the presence of intellectual disability. Earlier diagnosis and intensive behavioral therapy leads to
better outcomes.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------Nandini Iyengar MD, FAAP

Resources for Parents:
A child with Autism is a child first. When trying to meet their child's special needs, parents must keep
in mind that a child needs some free time to be a child. While therapies and interventions are important to lessen deficits and improve quality of life, their child's life should not consist of only constant
rounds of therapies. Be optimistic. If overwhelmed, ask for help. Sometimes extended family members
or friends may help support the family to address the stressors related to behaviors and delays associated
with Autism. Where extended family or friends are not available for support, parents can seek assistance
from respite services.
There are many resources and support groups in which parents can get involved and get help:
ASERT (Autism Services, Education, Resources and training Collaborative) Resource Center
Association of Maternal and Child Health Program (AMCHP)
State Public Health Autism Resource Center (SPHARC)
Association for Science in Autism Treatment (ASAT)
Autism Science Foundation
Autism Society of America
Autism Speaks-Autism Treatment Network (ATN)
Easter Seals Autism Services
Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC)
Interactive Autism Network (IAN)
MCH Library Knowledge Path: Autism Spectrum Disorders
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Other local parent groups and online support groups may provide support and help to advocate for services.
Ultimately, the goal of all parents, teachers and providers is to help the child with ASD reach his or her full potential
and nurture them with the help of all the resources available in his or her school and community.

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Delaware County Medicine & Health Spring 2017

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