One in every 100 kids autistic, say doctors

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One in every 100 kids autistic, say doctors VISAKHAPATNAM: April is observed as World Autism Awareness Month and even though roughly 1 out of 100 children is autistic, awareness continues to be low among people regarding the developmental disorder, especially in rural areas.

Autism requires early detection and intervention of medicines, said doctors of Government Hospital for Mental Care (GHMC), which sees at least a couple of autistic children per week. Doctors, however, revealed that in most cases, parents are not aware that their children are autistic.

According to medical data, the prevalence of autism has risen from 1 in 10,000 children about two decades ago to 1 in 100, with 1 in 68 children in Western countries being autistic. While autistic children may have normal functional IQ, in around 40-50% of the cases children may also suffer from mental retardation, Down’s Syndrome, low birth weight and seizures,” said Dr D Vijayalakshmi, professor of psychiatry at AMC-GHMC.

Early intervention through medical management and effective behavioural therapy is required so that these children can live a normal life. Medicines can help control their aggression and rigidity of behaviour, say doctors.

“The lack of enough awareness among parents and teachers as well as non-availability of adequate number of special educators and therapists pose a major challenge in autism management. The problem persists more in rural areas, where even school teachers are not aware that the child is autistic and therefore unable to fare well in studies. In regular schools, such kids are often bullied. There is a need to give special training to teachers and parents in behaviour therapy and language development methods,” averred Dr S Radharani, medical superintendent of GHMC.

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