The Importance of play in Autistic Children

Extracts of article first appearing in Times of India on 2nd April 2016:

After a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder, parents initially become apprehensive, often losing hope, getting demotivated and anxious. In this course, instead of enjoying parenting they forget the fact that their child needs to play and instead, just focus on treatment protocols and follow-ups with doctors.Somewhere the charm of parenting is left out. Home environments become constricted with fears and insecurities and parents themsleves forget their hobbies and lose interest.

Mayur Gaikwaad’s mother says, “It has been six years now that I have been to a theatre to watch a movie.“

Adds Saha, “I love to play cricket but who should I play with now? My child is autistic.“

These are just some of the things one gets to hear from parents of autistic children. Keeping this in mind and after identifying these problems by a team of CRC doctors, the Child Rehabilitation Centre decided to empower parents with appropriate play skills. In the last two years, their `Play and Communication’ module has successfully helped more than 500 families.

“Play is the basic occupation, which develops different milestones. Parents give importance to teach things such as speech, communication skills, etc.instead of developing them through experiences and exposures by playing with them. Therapy helps overcome dysfunction but play helps in overall development of a child,“ says occupational therapist and rehabilitation consultant, Dr Sumit Shinde (Managing Director, Child Rehabilitation Centre).

Four-year-old Aditya’s mother adds, “My child used to avoid eye contact and interacting with other kids. After the initial sensory integration and occupational therapy approach, I was introduced to the play and communication program that clarified my exact role as a parent in my child’s development. I could see faster development in Aditya and started enjoying parenting, which I almost forgot after I came to know about his condition.“

Lack of play behaviour is a major factor seen in today’s kids, increasing the incidences and severity of developmental delay. Appropriate play behaviour these days is not just lacking in children but also in parents. The Child Rehabilitation Centre organises regular counselling seminars, workshops and lectures for parents, which help create faster development in children with autism.

Child Rehabilitation Centre: 9221533714 5 6 7 8.

(*Procedures given are based on the expert’s understanding of the said field)


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