Speakers at a seminar urged the government to establish schools and centers to create awareness about autism, a disease characterized by difficulty in communicating with others, among the masses.
They were speaking on a seminar arranged by Payaam, a volunteer and a non-profit organization, Thursday to mark the World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD) at the National Institute of Special Education (NISE) for Mentally Retarded.
The aim of the seminar was to create awareness among the masses in order to gain support from the society for Autistic people so that they can live a content and meaningful life.
Dr. Matloob Azam, Associate Professor & Paediatric Neurologist, Childrens Hospital, PIMS, Ms Haleema Saadia, ABA Therapist, Mother of an Autistic Child, Ayesha Kamal Butt, Speech and Language Pathologist, Shifa International Hospital spoke on the occasion.
They said that in Pakistan people are not much well aware of the autism which caused mainly by mainly because of the less awareness about this disability. Sharing the symptoms of Autism, they said that it includes Disturbed Communication Skills, Resistance to Change and Behavioral Abnormalities among others.
They said that diagnosing autism is very difficult. The child may not have any outstanding feature that can help in its early diagnosis.
However in general the following signs and symptoms indicate presence of Autism; impaired social interaction, impaired/absent peer communication and attachment to routine such as excess/ and or low-responsively to sensory input, Repetitive play without imagination or fantasy, Inappropriate or flat affect, Self-motivating behavior, Disturbances of developmental rate, Mental Retardation and so on.
While highlighting the ways to handle the autistic child, they said that Autistic child do not misbehave intentionally like typical children. They maintained that their noticeable bad behaviors are often caused by external problems that can be solved by calm, creative caregivers.
They urged the parents that if they find any symptoms of autism in their child so they should not waste even a single second to seek a doctor for the treatment.
For teachers they said that they should handle such children with lot of care. While teaching such children they should highlight critical information on a page, Pre-teach important concepts within a lesson, Provide detailed and clear instructions for class work, Reduce requirements for written output, Allow alternatives to written assignments, Minimize distraction and Recognize and Identify symptomatic behavior.
They urged the government to take maximum initiative to establish schools or especial centers for autistic people which also contain the diagnostic facilities. Besides this they concerned public/private departments to play their part in creating awareness among the masses about autism.
Addressing the participants Khalid Naeem, Director General, Ministry of Social Welfare said that autism is important health issues that need to be addressed. He urged everyone especially media to play its role in this regard and assured full support of his Ministry.