Every year, on April 2nd, World Autism Awareness Day is observed. Autism is a developmental disability that affects how a person communicates and interacts with others. Children and adults with autism will exhibit difficulties with the social interaction of everyday life.
But Dr.J.S.Bhuvaneswaran, Director of PSG Hospitals says that Autism is not some defect that cannot be ever solved. He says that the major problem lies with the identification of this disorder. “Autism in children, in many cases, is not properly diagnosed due to lack of awareness. Many a times, it comes to the notice of parents at a child’s later age, particularly when he/she goes to school.”
A child’s struggle with Autism is more or less first observed by teachers, and they reveal to the parents that the child is finding it hard to learn or show attention in the classroom, the director says. Later the parents learn about the condition.
The most important message, according to him, that should reach the public, especially the young parents are that if they are attentive enough when they observe the child, within 18 months the presence of Autism can be diagnosed.
If it gets diagnosed by 18 months, the treatment strategies are very much available to bring the child back into the mainstream.
Dr.J.S.Bhuvaneswaran conveyed that today, doctors particularly paediatricians are being educated to go through a special checklist to make sure that a child does not have the features of autism. The doctors are given the training to find if a child has traces of Autism in 20-25 observations.
He stated that today the awareness needs to be given to both the parents and to the doctors, hence PSG Hospitals organized a Continuing Medical Education (CME) on April 2, 2021 on virtual mode, where doctors shared about the Current Update of Autism in Children.
Dr.Ra.Poo. Ezhilmangai, Department of Developmental and Behavioural Pediatrics, PSG Hospitals spoke on Early Identification and Evaluation of Autism in Children. Dr.Subramaniam from Nishta Centre of Excellence, Chennai spoke on Treatment Aspects of Autism in Children.
Many paediatrics took part in the program virtually and they were given an awareness on Autism, how to identify it by 18 months with the use of the checklist, and how best to help the affected children feel that they are not alone, and people like their parents, doctors and others are with them in their fight with Autism! This program was organized by Dr.Jayawardana, Head of Department of Paediatrics.
Dr.Bhuvaneswaran conveyed that PSG Hospitals also created awareness about Autism to the patients visiting the hospital via messages and illustrations.