ASDRC Blogs for Autism
Articles of Our Writers
“APRIL is the cruellest month of the year,” wrote T.S. Eliot. It is a month of painful rebirth, but also a time of immense possibilities, when each being has the chance to blossom. It is thus very aptly the month that hosts World Autism Awareness Day today, April 2.
The pain of discovering that the child you have given birth to is on the autism spectrum — then struggling with their condition and facing a world of critical peers, doctors, educators and government functionaries — needs to be leavened by sympathy and kindness. A recent US study found that a very high percentage of mothers of autistic children suffer from severe post-traumatic stress disorder. If this is true for the world’s richest country, which provides extensive support structures, what must the travails be of women in Pakistan whose children are diagnosed with autism?
First, diagnosis itself is difficult, because mothers looking for answers from doctors are often not even aware of what autism is. And particularly in smaller cities and towns, doctors often can’t diagnose autism, let alone advise parents, as it barely factors in their medical education and very few universities concentrate on the subject.
Since the incidence of autism is growing at a phenomenal rate at home and abroad, the existing structures of knowledge — including medical curricula — need to be revised to include a thorough understanding of specific developmental disorders. Help, care and research centres for autism should be set up at all institutions where psychology, developmental paediatrics and neurology are being taught, while public and private schools must set up resource rooms and train teachers to enable these children to attend mainstream schools.