Sunday, December 18

Little known about autism in Pakistan

Autism was a developmental disorder of brain function about which very little is known in Pakistan, and these patients could be made useful citizens by educating them.
The speakers stated this on the first day of the 2-day regional conference on Autism held at a local hotel on Friday, which organised by 'Ramaq' – an organisation endeavouring to create awareness about this developmental disorder since 2002. They informed the audience that autistic people reached to the environment was a very unusual way and two out of one thousand children happened to be autistic.
Merry Barua from India, Sabina Hussain of Bangladesh and Dr Shazia Maqbool in their presentations discussed various aspects of the disease in their respective countries, its treatment and awareness among the general public while Dr Shahnaz Ibrahim, Dr Radhike Khanna and Dr Khalida Tareen performed as panellists.
Highlighting the main symptoms of the autistic people, they maintained that poor language development, inappropriate use of language, inability to use language as a means of communication; respective behaviour resistance to change and assistance on routine were the four main causes for which the experts called for better understanding by the masses.
In the second session, Jaanik Beyer, Merry Barua and Dr. Radhike Khanna gave presentations.
Speaking on the occasion Rukhsana Shah, director Ramaq Centre for Awareness and Social Responsibility, described it as a pervasive development disorder present from birth, which affects the way information is processed and used by the brain. “Autism impacts the normal development of the brain in areas of social interaction and communication skills,” she observed. She called for including Autism as a subject in medical and other institutions, for provision and spread of better understanding and knowledge about the ailment.
It was also observed that autism was four times more common among boys than girls and is distributed among all SAARC countries.
The moot has been arranged by Experts from India, Bangladesh and Bhutan as well as local medical professionals spoke on various aspects of the problem.
December 16, 2005

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