By Padma Bhargav, Freelance Journalist
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
We come across some children who fail to communicate properly or repeat the same thing again and again accompanied with certain other abnormal behaviors. We tend to look at such children rather strangely. The parents of such children feel awkward to take them along in social gatherings or shopping. These are typical characteristics of a child which incapacitates him or her in verbal and non verbal skills.
autism is generally referred to as a neurological disorder or spectrum disorder and the child can have many other problems and unusual behavior. It may or may not be accompanied with mental retardation and other disorders. according to National autistic Society, US one in every 1000 children suffers from autism and around 40 lakh children in India suffer from autism.
Till now this disorder is diagnosed on the basis of symptoms and is purely based on the judgment of the doctor or psychiatrist. There are no special scans or testing methods to diagnose this disease clinically. Research is being done to find the causes of this disorder and find the pattern among autistic children, neurological and biological characteristics of the child which will be helpful in early diagnosis that can work as marker. Spectrum disorder or autism is curable or not, has also been a topic of debate so far.
Merry Barua from action of autism, New Delhi says "any child belonging to any section of the society from any part of the world can be an autistic and every child is a special case in itself. Lot of research is being done in this field so that some markers for early detection can be determined." according to Merry Barua there is no cure for autism so far and nothing can be said about future.
On the other hand Dr.ketan Patel of ahmedabad based Speciality Homeopathy Clinic says that the main reason for this disease is excess or deficiency of some metals present in the body, which give rise to certain neurological disorders. For example, aluminum, lead, mercury, arsenic, titanium, silver etc. the metal analysis can be tested from hair and urine. "I analyze the case based on my judging skills and can cure the disease. I claim that regular medication and three hours of exclusive parental care everyday can definitely cure autism within 18 to 20 months." He adds that in majority of the cases administering tuberculosis medicines has shown lot of improvement in the disease. If there is a tuberculosis history in the patient's family then this medicine proves to be effective in many cases. an IT professional from Hyderabad (name has not been mentioned on request) that his nine year old son had autistic symptoms and has shown lot of improvement in his studies after taking medicines.
Executive Director of Disha autism Center, Prabha Mehta says, "autism cannot be cured completely but early detection and care under a trained and experienced professional can bring lot of improvement in the child. Every autistic person is different from the other and therefore the teaching material is also designed accordingly." Lot of research is being done in this field and lot needs to be researched yet. However in ten per cent of the cases the disease is caused is due to genetic disorders and is considered to be one of the reasons for this problem, she added.
Parents have a major role to play in bringing up such children. Majority of the parents do not have sufficient information about autism and the treatment is delayed. according to Merry Barua, the parents should also be given special training from time to time so that they can understand the abnormal behavior of the child and recognize the problems in communication. This will help them in taking early help of the specialists. Besides normal schools should also have special teachers who can teach the autistic children as per their social requirements and bring in behavioral changes.
Incase of working couples having autistic child face difficulty in taking care of the child. Here one more question arises as to the autistic children should be kept in special schools or not? Prabha Mehta says, "Such children have special needs, which the parents cannot fulfill at home." On the contrary Ketan Patel says that these children should also be kept at homes like normal children and only very severe cases should be sent to special schools.
Besides there is a need to have special treatment facilities in the normal schools. Special programs should be organized in order to bring in awareness among the people because many people do not understand the difference between autism, mental retard ness and other neurological problems. If there is any homeopathic or other cure available then it should be published in medical journals and other media. The most important of all is that the parents should take their autistic children along with them to social get together and shopping's and spends quality time and not feels proud of being the parents of specially abled children.
Consult a doctor immediately you notice the following reactions in your children:The child does not respond to his or her name.
Padma Bhargav is a freelance journalist and can be reached at e-mail: [email protected]