Autism Awareness in Pakistan

Tahir, a businessman by profession, was unaware of the word Autism six years ago when his son “Farhan” was 1.5 Years old. In Pakistan, you may have heard the word, “Autism” in terms of a disorder in people very rarely. But do you ever try to figure out what it is and how does it occur?  Autism is basically a disorder and it is a range of different conditions that includes speech and nonverbal communications, repetitive behaviors, social skills and also by differences and unique strengths. There are numerous types of autism and there are many of its causes. The main cause of autism is the combination of environmental as well as genetic influences.

Tahir, google and find few related articles of Autism and ADHD. That was not enough, he went to different popular child Neurologists and Psychologists in the city of Karachi. He waited for hours for his turn and eventually had a prescription of starting with speech and occupational therapies of kid.

Karachi, Islamabad, and Lahore are few biggest cities of Pakistan where the ratio of literate people are comparatively higher than other towns and cities. However finding a school who provide early intervention to autistic kids has been the biggest challenge for parents. We can see only a few forums or groups, where you can find a same question, i.e, which is the best available school for autistic children? There is no dearth of special schools in these big cities but the issue is therapy services are not up to date and normally follows the same pattern. Most of the schools are not providing services, keeping in mind that how they can get best out of a kid diagnosed with autism, but actually because they want to get more out of the parent’s pocket, who have no other choice.

In this situation, parents themselves has to take a stand and educate themselves. “It is the only you who can bring the best out of your kid, we can only assist and provide guidance”,  says  Ms. Irum Rizwan, Head of Dow Autism Unit.

Tahir finally found therapy services at Dow Autism Unit, quite satisfactory and transparent at much cheaper rates. However, Ziauddin University,  Agha Khan Sports Rehabilitation center are also few popular names for occupational and speech therapy, but not affordable for most of the people.

Let’s have some background of autism and its signs.

Background of Autism

According to the history, it has been said that in the year of 1960’s and 1970’s autism was firstly caused due to the relationships of an abnormal family. One theory said that this problem was caused due to the cold and emotionless mother while the other theory said that this is caused due to the abnormalities found in the brain of parents. The autistic children were found in a large number and few of them may also suffer from epilepsy.

After that different researches have been made and it was finally figured or concluded that autism is basically a disorder which occurs due to the consequence of the development of an abnormality in the brain. Recently the research has shown that the abnormality in the brain can also be caused due to the specific genes. One should always keep in mind that the disorder of autism can also be caused due to the injury in the brain.

Appear of Autism

When the child is between 2 to 3 years old the signs of autism tend to appear. In some of the cases, it has been seen that autism has been diagnosed early as well at 18 months. A child having autism speaking disorder so the parents must consult with the doctor initially for better improvements and quick results.

Signs of Autism

Some of the children having autism disorder start showing hints to the parents by their behaviors. This start appearing within few months when this problem start occurs and mostly the kids do not act died at the age of 24 months but later things started changing in the kid. When the kid showing the signs of autism so they stop gaining the skills or they start dropping their own skills.

Possible signs of autism in babies and toddlers:

Most of the parents are unable to figure out the symptoms of autism. This will be a great guidance for all the parents. Following are some of the important signs and indications that give you an alarm of autism, When the baby is 6 months old, he:

  •  does not smile like other babies,  and doesn’t show any joy full expressions to people.
  •  does not have an eye contact with people or very limited eye contact.

At age of 9 months:

  •  does not share the vocal sounds with people and no participation in any other verbal communications.

At 12 months:

  •  does not babble.
  •  doesn’t have any gesture to communicate with others like pointing others, waving or giving expressions.
  •  doesn’t respond when someone calls their names.

At 16 months:

  •  doesn’t start speaking different words.

At 24 months:

  • doesn’t speak a single or two meaningful words like other babies.

Possible Signs of Autism Disorder at any Age

Autism cannot occur at the younger age but it can also happen at any age. So there are some of the important signs and symptoms which you must know and that will give you a hand if someone is involved in autism disorder. Possibly autistic people:

  • prefer to be alone always and they avoid having an eye contact.
  • do not understand the feelings of other people.
  • are non-verbal and they speak with delay.
  • repeat phrases and words continuously.
  • get upset with minor changes in their routine or their surroundings.
  • have a recitative behavior such as spinning, rocking, and flapping.
  • react and act very unusual on different things that include sounds textures, lights, taste, colors, and smells.

Behaviors that are Associated with Autism

Following are some of the behaviors that started appearing in the patients of autism and that are how you can figure out the autism issue occurs. They:

  • are unable to make eye contact with another person.
  • do not want to share the attention with anyone else.
  • face a lot of difficulty in communicating with other people.
  • avoid to meet or to interact with people.
  • fail to get engaged, in a pretending play,
  • do not understand the emotions of others and other’s intentions.
  • mostly avoid having physical contact.
  • always seem to be disconnected with the environment and atmosphere.

Sensory Disorders of Autism Children

The autism children also suffer from the disorders of sensory which cause them to display certain behaviors that include. They:

  •  doesn’t notice anything visually.
  •  are visually distracted like they are looking at something which a normal person cannot see.
  •  are obsessed with features of a particular environment.
  •  feel so uncomfortable, with the visual environment.
  •  do not hear anything that is going around them.
  •  mostly listen to those things which a normal person cannot hear.
  •  are obsessed with particular sounds in the environment and they only listen to those sounds.
  •  are unable to differentiate or switch different sounds in the environment.
  •  always feel uncomfortable in an adult environment.

The symptoms of autism can vary on the basis of different categories of autism. A kid who lies in severe can have almost all of the above symptoms but the one who comes under mild to a moderate category can have some.

I would encourage all the parents to come and take an initiative for autism awareness. This post is an initiative to let all parents, living in different parts of the world, connect to a platform where then can share their views and ideas related to autism. Do share your feedback and comments.