Autism first appeared as an identified disorder of children in the 1930s and has been increasing in incidence ever since, to the point that in 2002, nearly 120,000 children with autism were being served under the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)—an increase of 500 percent over the previous decade. In the United States as a whole, it is believed that 1.5 million Americans are living with one form or another of autism (www.healthinschools.org/focus/2005/no2.htm).
In his classic paper Kanner (1943) identified three essential features of infantile autism (i.e., social isolation, need for sameness and mutism or non-communicative speech). The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM IV TR – APA, 2000) summarizes the current view of the basic diagnostic features of autism as “Qualitative impairment in social interaction and communication and restricted repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests and activities” (pp. ).
One recent study, conducted by Suhail and Zafar (2008), shown that the prevalence of autism in Lahore, Pakistan, is 6.31%. Results further elaborated that the equally more common characteristics of autism in these children were “relating to people”, “emotional responses” and “visual responses’, followed by “general impression”, “imitation”, “taste”, “smell” and “touch response and use” and “verbal communication”. The least commonly observed area was “level and consistency of intellectual response”. Autism is quite prevalent in Pakistan but there is a huge gap of research in this field. The statistics about its prevalence is almost non-existent. According to Azeem (2009) the number of people falling in autism spectrum disorders is a minimum of 3,45,600 out of 172,800,048 population of Pakistan. He further argues that this figure is not accurate because of factors like misdiagnosis, social stigma and under-reporting of the disorder. There is not much work done on the development of individually tailored interventions for autistic children. The present study focused on providing intensive therapy to a six years’ old mildly autistic child. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of intensively implementing an individualized humanistic intervention plan on a child diagnosed having mild autism using mixed method approach and to develop a theoretical model of the whole process.
In the present study, we used individually tailored multi-pronged humanistic interventions including play therapy, speech therapy, art therapy and music therapy. As children with autism have poor or no communication skills and social interaction and furthermore, they are not much expressive and receptive, parents usually communicate and interact with them less frequently than their other kids. Therefore in this study we used a humanistic approach i.e., giving the child acceptance and unconditional positive regard just by being with the child and giving him control of his situation, to enable him to come out of his...