World Autism Day observed
at Dow University

KARACHI: Autism is a neurological developmental disorder characterized by deficits in communication, social interaction and repetitive behaviour. In Pakistan, although we do not know the statistics of children with autism but the number of cases reported do indicate a rapid increase of this condition. As such there is an essential need to have trained professional who can diagnose autism and rehab specialist who can offer treatment facilities both in government and private sector. This was stated by Health Secretary, Govt of Sindh Dr. Fazlullah Pechuho; Vice Chancellor DUHS, Prof. Khawar Saeed Jamali; Director, DUHS Autism Unit Ms. Erum Rizwan and Mr. Qazi Fazlee Azeem at an Awareness Seminar on World Autism Day held at Dow Medical College.

World Autism Awareness Day is celebrated on 2nd April every year. The aims of marking the World Autism Day are to raise awareness about children with autism and to bring organizations who work with children with autism on one platform to strengthen efforts for research, diagnosis and treatment of individuals with autism.

Prof. Khawar Saeed Jamali, Vice Chancellor DUHS presenting a memento
to the chief guest at World Autism Day held at Dow Medical College recently.

Dr. Fazlullah Pechuho further stated that Autistic children need special attention. We can defeat Autism with determination and convincing. In future, Autism Unit will be established throughout Sindh, he added. Prof. Khawar Saeed Jamali, Vice Chancellor DUHS stressed the need to create awareness about Autism among the masses. He also assured IPM&R and Autism Unit for all possible support and cooperation in this regard.

Ms. Erum Rizwan and Mr. Qazi Fazlee Azeem addressing the meeting said that the Autism Unit which is a department of Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (IPM&R) came into existence in 2013. The autism unit to this day remains the first and only unit in a teaching hospital in Pakistan offering services to children with autism. The team that works at the autism unit includes an autism specialist, a psychologist, occupational therapists and special educators. The services that are offered at the autism unit are behavior management session, academic management programs, computer classes, group sessions, parent training programs, art therapy and professional training programs. The autism unit at present has an enrollment of 120 children with autism. The autism unit at IPM&R works in collaboration with the speech therapy department, IPM&R and sensory integration department, IPM&R aiming to offer complete treatment package to children with autism under one roof.(PR) 

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