Speech and communication is one of the main difficulties in children who suffer from Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), stated experts at a major medical forum in Dubai.
In order to help these children integrate, early intervention is crucial said international speech and communication specialists at a two-day annual Autism Around the World Conference in Dubai organised by the Child Early Intervention Centre and the Dubai Health Care City (DHCC).
DrAmer Ahmad Sharif, Managing Director — Education, DHCC, remarked: “Collective efforts and voices are required to address the challenges faced by people with special needs in general. Specifically, there is a pressing need for support towards Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) given the incidence numbers. In this, today’s conference is well positioned to advance dialogue based on a global perspective.”
Children who have ASD often perceive things differently and therefore are unable to successfully communicate and interact with others.
One of the biggest impediments in reaching out to them is their lack of communication and language skills and refusal to interact with others. If the issue is addressed it could become a lot easier to integrate ASD children into mainstream education.
“Intervention should begin at the parental level as early as six to seven months, the moment parents spot that their child is not interacting, looking or following a lead and there is a distinct lack of connectivity,” Dr Nancy Creaghead, a renowned US specialist in Speech and Language Pathology (SLP) said to Gulf News at the conference.
“Speech and communication is important and parents need to take the help of speech and communication therapists at the earliest,” she added.
Dr James Feeney a US-based SLP expert said: “Technology can play a very important role sensitising ASD children. From a piece of paper with a symbol to a dedicated speech generation device, new technologies can help provide an integrated approach to Augmentative Alternative Communication (AAC).”
He said that everyday electronic devices suchs as I-pods, androids and other devices employing photo -based apps such as movies, photos and embedded texts could really help in providing integrated interactive communication to help ASD children.
Dr Erica Edwards, spokesperson from the Child Early Intervention Centre said that the fundamental goal of early intervention in children with language, behavioural and developmental delays is to help with their transition into mainstream schools.
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