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Rise of autism in India: Its time to take action

  • Posted on- Apr 02, 2015
  • 3025 Views

India can easily be termed as an “Autistic Country” with over 10 million cases registered already. The trend is upsetting in many ways as the numbers are only going upwards. According to statistics released by CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), it used to be the ratio of 1:110 few year back, but now one in every 88 children is born with ASD (autism spectrum disorder). The reason is clear-lack of basic equipment, improper diagnosis and dearth of doctors looking after the treatment of autism. Medical professionals say, early detection of autism can help a child lead normal life but sadly, most of them are unable to detect the disorder.

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, autistic patients fall under a special group with developmental complications highlighted by lack of social interaction and communication and by limited, monotonous and stereotyped patterns of behavior. The disease is four times more common in males than females.

Since initial signs of autism usually appear before a child turns 3, healthcare professionals are of the opinion that early detection can help a child lead full-fledged, normal life. Due to lack of awareness programs and education on autism, these symptoms are often ignored by parents in India and misdiagnosed by many physicians, which is the reason why the numbers are on the higher side. Surveys predict premature babies or children born to older parents are susceptible to ASD. In certain cases it has been found that harmful drugs taken by the mother exposes the child to this disorder. But researchers are working tenaciously to find the root cause of autism.  

Right to Education Support for Autistic People

Indian Government’s premier project, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, a wing of the Right to Education Act and the National Trust Act enable autistic children to have equal and mandatory right to education. But in reality these children face severe disparity by school authorities and sometimes by students. India has many disabled friendly schools but facilities required by autistic children are still inadequate, believe experts. School teachers are not trained enough to teach these children as they find it difficult to express themselves. They require trained specialists who teach social skills rather than the book language. Parents can be role models for these children as they are the ones who can encourage them to fulfill their dreams and realize full potential.

Inequality Still Persists

Even though the law provides all the basic facilities to autistic people like education, housing, banking, transport, they are often discriminated and end up being on the wrong side of the society. There have been cases where private airlines have offloaded passengers with autism. People often mistake ASD to be a mental disability. Autistic people are slow learners but they have brilliant minds as shown by Albert Einstein. In today’s era, all they need is acceptance by the society.