Search This Blog

Monday, July 25, 2011

Autism in South Asia

The BBC reports:

A two-day international conference on autism has begun in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka.

Experts and policy makers from around the globe will focus on promoting awareness on autism in Bangladesh and other South Asian countries.

The standard of diagnosis and care for autistic children in the region are said to be basic.


Bangladesh doesn't have specific data on those affected by autism but officials estimate that around 150,000 children may be classified as autistic.

"In a country like Bangladesh, we don't have the institutional facilities to diagnose what is the status," says Farah Kabir, from the aid agency Action Aid Bangladesh.

"If a family is fortunate enough to be able to afford to take an autistic child to a specialist hospital, then when they come back they don't have the facilities to follow up."

She says the most important thing is to create awareness that autistic children can be found as in many parts of the globe and how to deal with these children on a day-to-day basis.

During the two-day conference, the participating countries will also establish South Asia Autism Network to identify solutions to common challenges faced by each country and to provide training and conduct further research on the subject.

High-profile personalities like the Bangladeshi Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, and leader of India's governing Congress party Sonia Gandhi will be addressing the conference.

The [Dhaka] Daily Star reports:

A seven-point Dhaka Declaration on Autism Spectrum Disorders and Developmental Disabilities adopted Monday called for promoting stronger coordinated actions in the region and globally towards the improvement of the access and quality of healthcare services for individuals with autism and developmental disorder.

The declaration read out by Sri Lankan First Lady calls for increasing awareness of the rights of the children with developmental disorder and highlighting social responsibilities to persons with such disability

It stresses on strengthen health system capacities to address the needs of the children with developmental disorder and their families.

It calls for improving capacities of professionals involved in provision of integrated care services for children with developmental disorder at various levels, from primary healthcare and communities to socialized services.

The declaration asks for mobilizing and allocating increased human and financial resources for healthcare of the children with developmental disorder and gradual implementation of the identified priority actions.