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An Excellent Resource Book


Rama V. Baru

AUTISM: DIAGNOSIS AND AFTER
By Mythily Chari
Institute of Remedial Intervention Services Orion Printers, Hyderabad, 2004, pp. 117, Rs. 100.00

VOLUME XXIX NUMBER 8 August 2005

Those who have worked with disabled children know the ordeal parents have to go through for a correct diagnosis and the required therapy. For many disabilities, especially for autism and its related conditions, require prolonged and sustained therapy with the child and the family. Conditions like autism are little understood and as a result the wider community does not acknowledge the suffering that those who are affected and their families undergo. During the last two decades there has been some research in this area as a result of which we know a little bit more about autism and how to deal with it. The sharing of the knowledge and experience of therapists in dealing with children with autism has contributed to the understanding of this problem for parents, teachers and the community. Therapists who are sensitive and empathetic have tried to demystify and empower parents and teachers with the knowledge, skills and support to cope with the physical, emotional and social aspects that have to be dealt with on an everyday basis. Mythili Chari’s resource book Autism: Diagnosis and After is a valuable contribution for understanding the condition and provides inputs that would help the parents and the families to deal with it.   Autism, like several other disabling conditions are often not properly diagnosed. As Chari points out most parents have gone through a number of specialists to get a correct diagnosis of their child’s condition. Very often the specialist’s advice is demoralizing and parents are not informed about what needs to be done and the prognosis. To be correctly informed is only one aspect but beyond that parents are very anxious about what they need to do to help their children. What they need is a road map of what to do, how to do it and whose help they need and where they can find such help.   In my experience of working with parents of disabled children they are well motivated, involved and caring provided they have the support of therapists who are empathetic and do not exploit their vulnerabilities. This then places a great responsibility on therapists to analyse their motivations and behaviour vis-à-vis the children and their parents. Working with autistic children is a long process and therefore the child-parent-therapist relationship is critical. This relationship has to be supportive and sustained for a long period, which should not create an unhealthy dependence ...


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