Pakistan Situation : Early Diagnosis and Intervention For ASD

“It’s understandable that a parent may hesitate and want to give children time to mature, and a huge range does exist for typical development. Yet as scary as it may seem, it is better to get an evaluation done and, if necessary, to start services. If your child displays any of these possible symptoms, contact your paediatrician and seek evaluation by a developmental specialist:

• Language delays, such as no babbling as an infant or no words spoken by age 15 – 16 months. While most children with language delays turn out only to have language delays, an evaluation rules out other causes.

• Lack of gesturing to communicate or finger pointing by age 1.

• Lack of back-and-forth interaction. This includes experiences such as a child who does not respond to his name by age one, or lack of interest in (and initiation of) back and forth play as an infant (such as peek-a-boo).

• Lack of imaginative play as a toddler or in an older child.

• Loss of developmental skills at any time.”

Says Dr  Mark Bertin,M.D. Board-certified developmental behavioural paediatrician, author

 Read More: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mark-bertin-md/autism-early-intervention-makes-a-big-difference_b_5823064.html

Above article states the importance of early interventions in the matters of Autism, and other ASD conditions,.. However sadly in Pakistan there  are only few fortunate enough parents which can relate to have “early intervention” because in reality, our health care and social set up have a huge layer of problems which we have to scrape before we talk about “early intervention” in mental disorders and special education matters .

Some may say that now Pakistani community is more aware and people are talking about help and the right education for their special children, all this chatter is still, just at the surface and that also more due to the internet which is limited to  the educated and privileged computer literate strata which is  just fraction of the whole population of Pakistan.

A majority of our population have no education, knowledge or a system to catch these disorders at early, or even at a later stage.  Thousands of kids grow into adults with bigger problems than what they were born with. Poor  and  socio-rural  environment makes it even harder for these lives to thrive or find help. Cultural taboos and superstitions about their different appearance, behaviour make them isolated or victim of ridicule in most rural areas.Over all health care system is non-existent and not up to the pace of growth and concerns of a huge population.

At a time when we are already  talking about educational reforms in Pakistan , we must also consider and prioritise special education and early intervention as a mandatory part of  this reform. Under current government PEEF and many other organisations are doing a good job in  education sector , however special education still  remains  an  issue  unaddressed. It is  about time that we make  urgent  laws and legislation regarding special population in Pakistan, from diagnosis, early intervention, to education and welfare of these special kids.

It should be a uniformed programme for all provinces and FATA areas alike, as it is the  basic human right  for the lots of vulnerable Pakistanis. 

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