Therapies & Counselling
Counseling for parents:
Parents of special children are among those who face a major challenge. They need to deal with the child’s needs and the family’s needs. In this process, they may be unable to provide optimum care to their children. As a result, they may feel frustrated, guilty, or helpless. Parents need to realize that these feelings are natural, and they also need to learn how to tackle the challenges presented to them. Hence, they need to be counseled regularly both by teachers and by other parents. In these sessions, both formal and informal, parents get a chance to vent out their feelings and express the problems they are going through. They get inputs from teachers telling them how to best meet the child’s needs without feeling inadequate or helpless themselves. Their guilt reduces because they realize that they are not the only ones to feel the way they do.
At Spandan, we have seen the benefits of these counseling sessions on the parents. We realize that the child can only do well if the parents are happy and relaxed about the child’s condition. Hence, counseling forms an important part of Spandan’s activities. They are also given feedback about the child’s condition and are suggested what they can do in order to improve their condition. They get advice from other parents, which gets them closer to finding the solutions they need. They get moral support from other parents along with invaluable advice.
The special children at Spandan are given various therapies to help them overcome the challenges they face. These include:
Occupational therapy is a health care profession concerned with a person’s ability to perform daily occupations, including self-care, productive, and leisure activities. The goal of occupational therapy in the school system is to maximize the occupational performance of the student with special needs and inculcate the skills required for successful functioning in school. School performance in the areas of reading, writing, mathematics, manipulation of tools, physical education, independence with self-care tasks, and social integration are dependent on gross motor and fine motor abilities, visual-motor integration, and visual perceptual skills.
Occupational therapy is provided to improve performance in the following areas:
- Gross and fine motor skills
- Cognitive perceptual skills
- Visual-motor skills
- Sensory integration
- Motor planning skills
- Activities of daily living (ADL Training)
- Play skills
- Socio-emotional skills
This is achieved by training in the following areas:
- Behavior modification
- Perceptual training
- Pre-vocational training
- Fine and gross motor areas
- Social skills training
- Computer training
Activities in water are fun and enjoyable and have many physical, psychosocial, cognitive, and recreational benefits. It provides an ideal medium to exercise, especially for children with Autism. Warm water also reduces the spasticity in muscles and relaxes them.
For Autistic children, water therapy provides:
- Therapeutic play-based functional movement
- Improvement in the range of motion
- Help in facilitating neurodevelopmental growth
- Improvement in overall body awareness
- Increase in balance
- Sensory integration and mobility skills
About one-third of Autistic children are unable to communicate effectively with others because of poorly developed speech. For these children, speech therapy not only benefits their speech but helps in improving the overall communication of the child. Autistic children may face the following communication challenges:
- Trouble with eye contact and gestures, and other nonverbal gestures
- Trouble understanding the meaning of words outside the context where they were learned
- Memorization of things heard without knowing what’s been said
- Reliance on echolalia as the main way to communicate
- Little understanding of the meaning of words or symbols
- Lack of creative language
Speech therapy goes a long way in eliminating these problems. It enables the child to communicate his or her needs thus helping the development of the child.
Music and Dance:
Music therapy helps in treating autistic children, but it has to be applied with kids in mind. It should not be too complicated for them to follow. Music that engages autistic children in dancing and singing works very well in helping them communicate and develop social skills. Autistic children respond to music by singing in the same note, and some of them may even start communicating through singing. They may take up an instrument to play, and this will help them gain interest in acquiring a certain skill. Music therapy can help different autistic patients in different ways, but generally, it is beneficial to them because it makes them more responsive to things around them.
The reason behind such a great response to music is that autistic children do not engage in normal social activities, and music sessions give them an opportunity to express themselves. Music therapy for an autistic child starts with learning how to play a musical instrument, as he or she may get intimidated by human contact. Slowly, the therapy moves on to include singing and even dancing, if the child shows interest in such activities. This gives the child an emotional outlet as well as a sense of fulfillment, which was lacking in the past because of limited social activity.
If implemented appropriately, the addition of physical activity to the routine of an autistic child can help him or she overcome many of these challenges and improves the child’s overall quality of life. Sports are important to maintain optimum fitness levels. Frequent participation in sports activities improves balance, speed, agility, strength, flexibility, and endurance.
Exercise and sports also play a role in behavior modification. They help the child reduce behaviors such as head-nodding, body spinning, hand-flapping, etc. which interfere with the child’s social interactions. They also help in reducing self-injurious and aggressive behaviors. The repetitive actions involved in running and swimming may distract the other repetitive behaviors associated with Autism.
Besides improving fitness, motor function, and behavior in individuals with autism, among the most important advantages of physical activity are the social implications of participating in sports and exercise. Physical activity can promote self-esteem, increase general levels of happiness, and can lead to positive social outcomes, all highly beneficial outcomes for individuals with autism. For those with autism who are able to participate in team sports, this presents an opportunity to develop social relationships among teammates and learn how to recognize the social cues required for successful performance on the field or court. However, individuals that prefer individual sports such as running or swimming that do not rely as heavily on social cues may still benefit from the positive attributes of physical activity while forming social relationships with coaches or trainers. In all cases, participating in sports provides individuals with autism with a role in society that may not have existed otherwise.
In addition to these therapies, the children are also taught Yoga, drawing.