‘Support autistic children’

Kathmandu, April 1

April is marked as World Autism Awareness month. Every year, parents, along with social workers organise various programmes to make people aware of autism.

“Awareness of autism among parents has become more important in the present context,” said Dr Sunita Amatya, president of Autism Care Nepal Society.

Since complete treatment of autism is not possible, parents face many difficulties in handling children suffering from the disease.

The government has recognised autism as a form of disability, as per National Disability Act, 2017.  “The government has to support the children suffering from autism by providing training to parents and teachers so that they can handle such children and develop education plans for them,” said Dr Amatya. She also said that certain therapies such as occupation therapy, communication therapy, special education, behavioural therapy, art therapy, music therapy could help children with autism communicate with normal people but very few parents could  afford these therapies.

A child with autism can be given better treatment if the problem is identified at an early age, but many parents know about this problem very late due to lack of awareness.

The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that out of every 68 children, one suffers from autism in the country. This includes one in 42 boys and one in 189 girls. Around one third of people with autism can not speak throughout their life and around one third people with autism have intellectual disability.

Dr Amatya said, “More than 300,000 children suffer from autism in the country though there is no accurate record with any government body.”