Early detection and early intervention has a positive impact on children with Autism


Early detection and early intervention
has a positive impact on children with Autism

KARACHI: Autism is a behaviorally defined life-long disorder of higher cortical function, with onset in early childhood that affects sociability, language and communication, play, and range of interests and activities. In Pakistan, there is no statistical data of autistic children. Unfortunately there is very little awareness about Autism in Pakistan. Similarly there are very few places where these children can be managed. This was stated by the speakers at the Awareness Seminar titled “Autism – A Silent Cry for help in Pakistan” organized by Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS) recently.
Early detection and early intervention has a positive impact on children with Autism. Teaching and training of these children requires thorough professionals and specialized equipment. There is need to have support with government and policy makers for implementation of Autistic Rehabilitation Centre at local and national level. It was emphasized that PMDC and CPSP may be advised to highlight Autism at under graduate and post graduate curriculum of Paediatric which will create a general awareness and management of Autism.
Sindh Health Secretary Mr. Iqbal Hussain Durrani who was the Chief Guest on the occasion said that Autistic children need special attention. Early detection and treatment will result in cure at early stage. He stressed the need to create awareness about Autism among the masses.
Prof. Masood Hameed Khan, Vice Chancellor, DUHS speaking at the occasion said that Dow University keeping in view the severity of the disease established a Autism Unit at its Institute of Physical Medical and Rehabilitation Centre, DUHS which is providing treatment to the Autistic Children. DUHS has always strived to address health issues of community, Autism being one of them. He commended the efforts and achievements of DUHS team and also thanked the Secretary Health for his support and encouragement. He also asked the Shahzad Roy to become the Ambassador of Autism in Pakistan.
Program started with “An Overview of Autism” by Dr. Ayesha Sarwat, Assistant Professor Psychiatry, DIMC, DUHS. An Update on Centre for Child Development was given by Prof. Dr. Aisha Mehnaz, Chairperson Dept. of Pediatrics, DUHS. She said that this centre was established in response to the need felt for dealing with increasing number of cases of neurodevelopment, learning and behavioural disorders and with the vision of making children with developmental disorders a useful component of the society. Facilities for Psychological assessment & counseling, Medical Check-up, Developmental Assessment, Nutritional advice and Speech therapy are available to manage different disorders like Cerebral Palsy, Acquired brain injury, Epileptic disorders, Autism, ADHD and Chromosomal disorders.
Dr. Nabila Soomro, Director IPM&R, DUHS then gave an update about Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (IPM&R) DUHS. She said several services were available at this institute to manage patients requiring rehabilitation. These included four major departments i.e. Physiotherapy, Occupational therapy, Prosthetics and Orthotics and Cardiac Rehabilitation in addition to several other specialized units like neuropsychological unit, Centre for Child Development, Autism unit, Sensory Advanced Unit etc. She also said that trained faculty and staff were available for provision of these services.