Welcome to  the resources page of ‘Not That Different’ to understand autism better. There is enough information out there on this subject by many credible organizations. We have structured and curated the same for you.

The special feature you will find here are the thoughts and tips of autism activist and special needs mom, Mugdha Kalra.   We hope her positivity, understanding and tips will inspire you to join in this movement.

Our team of parents and therapists regularly curate resources on Autism that will be handy for every parent or caregiver. Do subscribe to receive updates in your inbox .



First up, don’t miss this beautiful message by special -needs mom and autism activist Mugdha Kalra urging us to join the ‘Not That Different’ Movement. You have already taken the first big step by visiting this page. Congrats!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Additional resources on autism awareness

Health Issues India-Why we need awareness

Your Story-Organizations in India spreading awareness about Autism

 

2)  Why are some kids neurodiverse?

There are many reasons for children being different or shall we say neurodiverse. One of the big ones is Autism. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental condition that involves challenges in social interaction, speech and nonverbal communication, and restricted/ repetitive behaviours. The effects of ASD and the severity of symptoms are different in each person.

Here is Mugdha breaking down how to explain autism to people?

Watch Mugdha talk about the need to be more aware in general rather than only google autism when we happen to meet or know someone who is on the spectrum.

Additional resources for what is autism:

What is Autism – Psychiatry. Org

Autism India

3) How do you know if someone is autistic?

How do you know if the child has Autism? Autism diagnosis can happened as early as 18 months and most prevalently between 3 & 4 years of age. Children in the spectrum do not look different, they just act different. They are typically aloof, with limited speech and language in some cases, with quirky behaviours and boundless energy.

Additional resources on signs of autism-

Signs of Autism by CDC

Understanding Autism by NIMHANS

Should you be interested, here are also some recommended books

A Friend Like Simon by Kate Gaynor
All My Stripes: A Story for Children with Autism by Shaina Rudolph and Danielle Royer Andy
His Yellow Frisbee by Mary Thompson
Everybody is Different by Fiona Bleach
My Brother Charlie by Holly Robinson Peete and Ryan Elizabeth Peete

4) Why is eye contact a challenge in autism?

Several children in the spectrum have a challenge making eye contact. In fact, it is one of the red flags to notice in early toddlerhood. Reasons of not making eye contact are several but it is important to understand that they do acknowledge your presence but in their own ways.

Additional Resources on eye contact-

Autism Speaks

Spectrum News

Autism Awareness

5) Why can’t Autistic kids have candies?

There is much overlap between ADHD and autism, so for autistic children who show signs of hyperactivity, improving sugar balance is a must. Sugar and excessive carbohydrates should be cut to avoid yeast infections and constipation issues as well. Good oral health also ensures less visits to the dentist which in case of a child in the spectrum can be traumatic.

Additional resources on autism and sugar:

Spectrum News 

Eatright.org

Autism Parenting Magazine

6) What are social stories?

Social stories are individualized short stories that depict a social setting and prepare a child in understanding what they may expect if they are in that situation. The stories are in pictures and are precise and sequential.

Children in the autism spectrum like familiarity of structures and routines and in order to prepare them to encounter something new, social stories are used. Many of them are visual learners so they take to this form of explanation. In 1991, Carol Gray, who was a teacher and an educational consultant in America, introduced this concept.

Social stories tell the child about the ‘who, what, where, and why’ of a situation. They tell them what they can likely feel in that setting. How they can handle being in that situation and give them some assurance about familiarity of what’s going to come.

Social stories also help understand and follow rules and routines. Gain insight into the perspectives of others, enhance self-awareness and understand how their behavior impacts others. At a young age they help develop self-care skills and also social skills.

7) How to prepare your child to deal with COVID appropriate behaviour has brought about? Here are our exclusive social stories and pro tips from Mugdha-

a) Washing hands-

Check out our social story on Washing Hands  

Pro tip by Mugdha-

Ask other members of the house if they have washed their hands.
Model the behaviour and announce, “Oh I washed my hand when I got home .” Pick a song your child likes that they can sing for 20 seconds while washing hands. Happy birthday song is a popularly used one but you can sing your own as well.

a) Wearing a mask-

Check out our social story on Wearing a Mask

Pro tip by Mugdha-

Choose the mask fabric that the child likes.
It should be easy to put on and to wear around the neck during meals.
Name tag it to personalize for your child.
Choose dome design that doesn’t touch the mouth and doesn’t interfere with speech.
Practice wearing the mask at home. Gradually let the child get comfortable  about the mask around his face… starting from chin, to mouth to eventually  nose.
Reinforce and reward mask wearing.
Make and  colour masks at home as a play activity


Check out our Social Story on Wearing a Mask

c) Social Distancing

Check out our Social Story on Social Distancing

Pro tip by Mugdha-

Play with hula hoop and explain them the concept of body space.
Get out the measuring tape and show your child how far 6 feet is.

 

d) Online Schooling-

Pro tip by Mugdha-

Don’t force the child to look at the screen.
Fix a place for the class.
Keep reinforcers handy.
Make sure the child is fed before the class.
Do some brain gym exercises or deep breathing before each class.
Let the child get enough fidget breaks.
Eye exercises after each class

Important Note: The information here is not meant to diagnose or treat and should not take the place of personal consultation, as appropriate, with a qualified healthcare  professional and/or behavioral therapist. 

7) How to engage with someone who is not verbal or semi verbal?

Is talking the only way to communicate? Hear this pro tip from special needs mom and autism activist Mugdha Kalra on how to engage with someone, beyond words

 

8) Why do kids on ASD get overwhelmed by too much sound/ What is Autism Auditory Sensitivity ?

Do not miss our gently informative comic strip on this subject

Do not miss the Not That Different’s gently informative comic strip that talks of the same before heading over to listen to Mugdha talk about autism auditory sensitivity.

9) Why are kids on the spectrum picky eaters?

Mealtimes can be challenging with children on the autism spectrum. They are fussy, picky and have narrow food selections. They also have ritualistic eating behaviors like eating only certain kinds of food or textures, or staying away from food that smells a certain way. More often than not, sensory issues are the reason for this inflexibility or underdeveloped oral muscles that prevent them from chewing . They may not like how the food feels inside the mouth or some of them actually feel the comfort in having the same food ritualistically . Of course, sometimes they are also put on a Gluten free, Casein free diet for better digestion or to rule out allergies and that even further narrow down the food choices. But instant noodles and potato fries are almost everyone’s favorites.

Here are some great resources to help you understand this better

Ways to help a picky eater at Autism Speaks |  Practical Tips for Parents at Child MindEating only junk food at Autism Speaks | Help overcome picky eating at Autism Parenting

Watch Mugdha break down the reasons for it and what can help.

10) Why many kids on the spectrum prefer to wear same coloured clothing?

For those on the spectrum, routines are very important. Wearing the same colour everyday is one such trait that some find comfort in. This also helps them avoid sensory overload (getting overwhelmed) since they do not have to open a closet full of clothes of different colours and styles, to choose from.

Here are some great resources to help you understand this better

Colour and Autism by Autism Magazine | The effect of colour by My Wellness Hub  | Colour and Mood Behaviour by Mom’s Belief|| Understanding Visual Symptoms by Nova Southeastern University

Our team of parents and therapists regularly curate resources on Autism that will be handy for every parent or caregiver. Do subscribe to receive updates in your inbox .



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