While autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a progressive brain disease, there are 350,000 children suffering from autism in Pakistan but majority of them are not diagnosed.

350,000 children suffer from autism in Pakistan: expert

This was stated by Canada-based Pakistani psychologist and autism expert Saima Akram at the launching ceremony of her book titled ‘Autism and Behavioural Science’ on Wednesday. ASD begins at the age of three and last throughout a person’s life, although symptoms may improve over time. Studies have shown that one third parents noticed the problem before their child’s first birthday, and others saw problems by 24 months of age, she said. Some children with ASD seem to develop normally until around 18 to 24 months of age and then stop gaining new skills, or they lose the skills they once had.

ASD is a complex condition involving persistent challenges with social communication, restricted interests and repetitive behaviour. Saima Akram said according to estimates about one in 100 children has autism. “This estimate represents an average figure, and reported prevalence varies substantially across studies. Some well-controlled studies have, however, reported figures that are substantially higher,” she said. She said the statistics from South Asia estimate that there may be 350,000 children with autism in Pakistan. “Unfortunately, most of these children remain undiagnosed due to the lack of awareness and expertise in diagnosis,” Saima Akram said.

The purpose of this book is to provide the reader with the indispensable knowledge, awareness, treatment plans and scientific approach for autism. The concepts are premeditated with a balance of conceptual, practical, empirical and theoretical information to bridge the gap between research and everyday practice. While acknowledging empirical researches and models, book provides practical strategies in the recent scientific research and practice in the field of autism. Saima Akram received her M.Phil degree in Psychology from Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, and Master in Psychology from Govt. College University, Lahore, Pakistan and Ontario graduate diploma in autism and behavioural science from Canada. She has also completed advanced certificate for Autism USA, Red Cross Canada, and Ontario Colleges Canada.

Source: This news is originally published by Dawn

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