Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Autism




Today Moses and I (Kristin, the American OT) went on some home visits in the village. One of the girls we visited was about 5 years old and nonverbal. Moses told me she has a history of having very frequent seizures. He also described some behaviors to me that her grandmother was concerned about: She doesn't like to play with other kids, she refuses to be toilet trained, does not follow directions, and gets upset very randomly without warning and has a hard time getting calmed down. To me, this child appears just as the children I work with in the U.S. in the Autism classroom. I explained to Moses the importance of structure and visual cues. We also brainstormed an idea of how to make a swing from one of the branches of tree in their yard because the vestibular motion of a swing can be very calming for someone with autism. The child continues to have frequent seizures, and i am unsure of the correlation between autism and seizures, but it would be interesting to learn more about. In the U.S. there is medication very readily available for a child who has a seizure, and spring of hope is making this medication more readily available for the children.. however, finances still continues to be a large barrier. Getting the medication to the child (transportation costs) and getting the medication (cost of medicine).
I could tell that it was discouraging for Moses because there a little resources in this country for children like this girl. In the U.S. we have entire classrooms with sensory toys and picture schedules, staff that are trained, and very regimented routines for these children. Uganda is not ready to be at a place to support these children in schools, so right now our role is to brainstorm to help the parents support these children at home. We must be creative.

Pictures and videos will be added later to these posts.. I'm having difficulty doing so due to the size of the files and the internet speed. My apologies! video video

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