Not Enough Doctors to Treat Autism in India

India – An article on the website reports that there are not enough doctors, especially in rural areas to treat autism.

Arun Mukherjee, director of Udaan – a centre for the disabled said:

‘A lot needs to be done in smaller towns,’

Usha Verma, principal of Tamana Autism Centre and School of Hope said that there is lagging awareness about autism among Indians.

‘For most of them, it is still a mental illness and that perception has to change. Due to this lack of awareness, parents do not consider it to be important enough for diagnosis,’

Tamana is a special school set up in 2003 for autistic children. Samir Parikh, director, mental health and behavioural sciences at Fortis Hospital, said that the treatment for autism is a multi-disciplinary approach.

‘There is a wide spectrum and children fall in various ranges. So the treatment varies depending on the level of sickness.’

Samir Parikh told that for Indian parents getting an accurate diagnosis also poses a hurdle.

Experts said that the Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995, does not include autism, but the government plans to cover the condition in the revised act, which has lapsed in parliament.

Autism is now covered under the National Trust for the Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities Act, 1999.

Arun Mukherjee said:

‘Just adding autism to the Disability Bill is not enough. Government needs to devise new curriculum and start specialisation courses so that the country gets more experts to treat autism,’

The original article on the website can be read here