Autism patients deserve special attention of society

KARACHI: Autism is a mental disorder and people who are afflicted with it deserve special attention of the society, said Dr Shahnaz Ibrahim of Aga Khan University while addressing an awareness seminar on Saturday.

The seminar on “Autism & Learning Disabilities Awareness” was organized by Autism Spectrum Disorder Resource Center (ASDRC) at a local hotel. It was attended by parents of autism disorder and professionals including doctors, teachers and therapists.

Dr Shahnaz Ibrahim highlighted different aspects of autism spectrum disorders in detail. She said autism is mental disorder and people with this disorder deserve special attention of the society.

She said autism affected people can face speech and communication problems in life. She said early detection and early intervention has a positive impact on children with autism. She said genetics, prenatal and perinatal factors, neuro-anatomical abnormalities and environmental factors are major causes behind spread of autism disorder.

CEO ASDRC, Rukhsana Shah expressed her gratitude to the Mahvash & Jahangir Siddiqui Foundation (MJS) for its financial and moral support, which enabled the center to offer the first training to teachers and parents.

She said it was the mission of ASDRC to create mass of trained teachers, care-givers and to create maximum awareness in the country about autism and learning disabilities.

Chairperson MJS Foundation, Mrs Mahvash Jahangir Siddiuqi said foundation was striving to improve health, education and social outcome in Pakistan through the establishment of additional facilities in existing public and private hospitals, introducing educational and vocational colleges for person with disabilities, empowering youth through leadership and enterprise support programmes, improving the quality of education and providing relief and rehabilitation services during natural disasters.

She said autism resource center in Lahore set up by the Foundation is designed to create greater awareness about autism and learning disabilities in the country, and to train parents and teachers of special and mainstream schools in the relevant fields.

Dr Aisha Sanoober of Aga Khan University gave a detail presentation on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), while Mona Qaiser highlighted the aspects of dyslexia and its management.

Clinical Psychologist, ASDRC, Asma Ahmed, discussed treatment and management techniques for children ASD and the different therapies used to help them.