India And Pakistan Aims To Improve Lives Of 50 Lakh Children By New Autism Treatment

Autism is a neurodevelopmental spectrum disorder, it is highly genetic, researchers suspect both environmental and genetic factors as causes. In rare cases, autism is strongly associated with agents that cause birth defects. Parents usually notice signs in the first two years of their child's life. It affects information processing in the brain by altering how nerve cells and their synapses connect and organize.

Qualitative impairment in social interaction like

  • Use of verbal behaviors such as eye-to-eye gaze, facial expression, body attitudes, and gestures to regulate social interaction
  • Inability to develop peer relationships
  • A lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interest or achievements with other people


Qualitative impairment in communication

  • Delay in the development of spoken language
  • Lack of varied, spontaneous imaginary play or social copied play appropriate to development level
  • Stereotyped and repetitive use of language


Restricted repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behaviors, interests and activities

  • Apparently inflexible adherence to specific, non-functional routines or habits
  • Persistent preoccupation with part of objects
  • Stereotyped and repetitive motor gesture

 

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Autism is one of the world’s fastest growing developmental health challenges, with up to 7 crore people affected, causing a severe effect on the social development of children.

Recently scientists successfully developed a new autism treatment programme in India and Pakistan, that could help improve the lives of millions of autistic children in developing countries. They adapted a parent-led autism therapy which helped parents interact better with their autistic children after 12 weeks of the programme.

Clinical researchers from the Manchester in UK and Universities of Liverpool collaborated with colleagues in South Asia to adapt the therapy. The partnership aims to improve treatment for an estimated five million children in the region with the disorder. They adapted a leading UK therapy method known as PACT which helps parents interact better with their autistic child.

In Rawalpindi, Pakistan and Goa, India, the programme was taught to non-specialist health workers with parents of the 65 autism children who were recruited to the trail. The children were reviewed using recognised methods at the end of 12 week period also parents were shown to have learned from the involvement and the children were more likely to initiate communication with their parents.

The researcher noticed some issues as lack of resources, trained staff, language and cultural differences and poor access to medical centers which means that methods need to be adopted after all they said “It has been outstandingly successful in showing that such adaptation is both possible and can produce changes that are equal or even better that we achieved in UK”.

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