Govt working to bring autistic children in mainstream development

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DHAKA, April 15, 2017 (BSS) – The present government has been working to bring the people born with autism related problems and disabilities in the mainstream development process of the society helping them lead a normal life. The government is firmly committed to protect their rights and dignity.

Our responsibility towards the autistic people much higher than the normal ones since every people have the right to live with self-honor and dignity. State along with the guardians has to take care of the disabled people so that they, including the autistic ones, can enjoy the equal rights.

Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, refers to a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication, as well as by unique strengths and differences.

Autism’s most-obvious signs tend to appear between 2 and 3 years of age. Some developmental delays associated with autism can be identified and addressed even earlier.

According to a survey of the ministry of health, one among 25,000 children was born with autistic behavior in 1980, which came down at one among 500 children in 2014. Male children are more susceptive to be born with autism than the female ones, the report said adding that male and female ratio to this end is 4:1.

Two autistic children, the report said, among 10 become skilled in painting, music, dance or computer or mathematics.

In another report of the ministry said three percent children in the capital city are born with autism while out of the capital city the figure is seven percent.

Though the reasons of autism are yet to be ascertained internationally, a number of scientists said genetics and environment problems are solely responsible for developing the disorder among the children.

Physicists, however, said viral fever of mothers’ during pregnancy, lack of oxygen among children while born, environment pollution, intake of excessive antibiotic and genetics are the causes of autism.

Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith in his FY2012-13 budget speech said there were 1,50,000 autistic people in the country. The latest survey of the Social Welfare Directorate said out of 12 categories disabled people, a total of 45,404 people bear autism related problems.

According to latest information (till February 28, 2017), there are a total of 1,59,716 disabled people in the country.

As part of the country’s commitment, ‘Institute for Neuron Disorder and Autism in Children’ has been established at the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University aimed at providing ‘One Stop Service’ facility to the disabled people.

Besides, in 68 districts, 103 One Stop Service Centers are functioning now and its number to be raised in future. Child develop centers have launched at government hospitals along with establishing autism corners at all disabled centers and helping centers at all districts.

A number of international organizations, autonomous and non-government organizations have also been working for the welfare of the autistic people.

Bangladesh formally started works on autism awareness and services through holding of the South Asia Conference-2011 in Dhaka. Currently national steering committee, national advisory committee, and technical direction committee are working together to raise awareness on autism, quick identification of the disorder and provide service to the autistic people.

To this end, 13 ministries have been working together to address their problems. The country has also taken a five-year plan on autism awareness, social integration, education, training and research.

Besides, a special academy under the ministry of education has been setting up involving Taka 13 crore to bring autistic children in the mainstream development process.

All the works related to autism are being carried out due to the earnest efforts of Prime Minister’s daughter Saima Wazed Putul. Autism related awareness has now increased significantly in the country despite many limitations.

Former Vice Chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University Dr. Pran Gopal Dutt said still there are misunderstandings about autism among the countrymen. In villages, the autistic children are being considered as mad. Even in most of the cases autistic children die due to wrong treatment, he added.

“Autistic children should be treated as ‘special children’ instead of disabled ones as they become skilled on special trades when they grown up. It is possible to protect them from the curse of autism spectrum disorder through early diagnosis,” he observed.

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