Autism Spectrum Disorder

The recent report describes a case of an 11 years old boy who was identified by coaching assistants attached to the Family Medicine Centre (FMC) of the Department of Community and Family Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Jaffna. He was schooling at a special education unit of a school in Jaffna. 

He was initially assessed and managed at the FMC but later referred to Gabriella Rasiah Memorial Pediatric Centre (GRMPC), a division of Green Memorial Hospital in Manipay, Jaffna, on complaints of poor performance in social interactions, verbal communication, and studies. 

The patient had no siblings, with his mother working as a teacher and his father, a staff attached to a university. The parents observed difficulty conceiving and conceived this child after two years. The child showed poor development milestones. He started crawling at one year old, walking and uttering his first words at two and a half years old. The parents took the child to India for speech and language therapy when he was three and a half years old.

Based on the clinical assessment by a psychiatrist and pediatrician in Sri Lanka, the child, then aged four and a half years, was diagnosed with mild autism. After receiving this diagnosis, the parents admitted the child, aged eight, to a special education unit. 

At this point, a team of experts identified the child and encouraged the parents to bring the child for a regular clinic follow-up.

The management focused on developing motor skills, creative skills, life skills (self and social care), and pre-learning skills (auditory and visual), which they attempted through speech therapy, occupational therapy, shallow teaching, and art and dance therapy. 

The team encouraged motor skills development in the child by making him write with a pencil, open a lock with a key, and fix tiny shapes. Further, they encouraged his creative skills through storytelling, drama play, singing, and dancing. Likewise, his auditory and visual skills development were encouraged via listening to various sounds in the surroundings and differentiating or matching the multiple colors. Self-life skills were encouraged via putting on the shirt buttons, brushing the teeth, bathing, eating without spilling, wearing clothes, lacing the shoe, putting on socks, etc. Social care was encouraged through group work, classroom cleaning, watering the plants, birthday celebrations, serving food, helping others in need, etc.

The frequency of the sessions at the pediatric centre differed according to the child's progress. He was encouraged a strict adherence to two visits per week.

Surenthirakumaran R, Kumaran S, Sathees S. A child with Autism Spectrum Disorder- Case Report. 2022;36:79-81.

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