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10 things to do if you suspect your child has Developmental Delay or Autism in UAE

Whats your next step?

1. Have your child checked by a Pediatrician
Inform the doctor clearly of your concerns and of any family history. If you feel that your child is not developing correctly in any area, make sure to point it out clearly.

2. Have your child’s Eyesight and Hearing tested
Many a times it is one of these that hamper appropriate development. If it is difficult to test hearing due to any reason, then try calling your child’s name from a few feet behind his head and see if there is a response. Try making sudden sounds around him and check response.

3. See a Developmental Pediatrician or Educational Psychologist
If you still feel that there is something else that is wrong and that your child seems different when compared to others of his age, then seek help from an experienced developmental pediatrician or education psychologist.
Again make sure you point out the exact areas and instances of difficulty.

4. Multi-Disciplinary Assessment
Additionally get a multidisciplinary assessment ( includes Psychologist, Occupational Therapist, Speech and Language Pathologist, Special Educator and Behavior Therapist) If there is no such availability then procure each of these assessments separately in order of areas of difficulty observed. If you are put on a waiting list for these assessments, which is very common in many countries, then try to get a skill based assessment for intervention planning as soon as possible.

5. Make a Friend who has Experience
While you are getting all the assessments done, make notes of areas of difficulty, he/she is facing and talk to another parent who has some experience. Learn about the strategies they use for coping as a family etc.

6. Educate Yourself
Be very careful of what you read on the internet! Not everything on internet is TRUE. Look for reliable and evidence based articles and information.

7. Set up Structure in your Home
Begin following routines and make sure you take some time for yourself every day. Having structure will reduce anxiety for your child and make things predictable in the home. Define duties and responsibilities in the family and set up schedules for chores, having this kind of clarity helps in keeping order at times of stress.

8. Education and Therapy Service Provision
Begin looking for therapy and education service providers immediately.

9. Begin Intervention AS SOON AS POSSIBLE
This could be home based therapy, center based therapy, special education facility etc. Early intervention is the most effective intervention. Begin intervention as soon as possible!

10. Learn the techniques Yourself
Insist on attending therapy with your child, learn the techniques and practice them at home. The more the practice the faster and better the results for your child. You are your child’s Best Teacher.

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