Examining the genetic variants in Pakistani individuals has been challenging, as individuals with psychiatric disorders do not report their disease due to the possibility of social stigma. This results in an under-reporting of the number of individuals in Pakistan with mental illnesses and prevents patients from receiving care by trained professionals.
I was never a typical child. since childhood I had some trouble in making eye contact. I did not even speak the basic words such as mama and apple. in every public space I was constantly reminded that I was different, out of ordinary. I would not realize that I’m sitting differently from others. I needed some guidance regarding following social and behavioral assistance. I felt that something was different. I needed assistance with basic needs such as washing, dressing and even putting on shoes. I avoided people and didn’t keep eye contact. I didn’t respond to name for almost 9 months of age.
I felt disconnected from the society, I could feel eyes of strangers on me. those weird looks, and the hurt and despair in my mothers’ eyes. Years later after living my life like this. when it became severe, I finally came to know what I had and that was Autism.
I Does not show facial expressions like happy, sad, angry, and surprised by 9 months of age
Does not play simple interactive games like pat-a-cake by 12 months of age
Uses few or no gestures by 12 months of age (for example, does not wave goodbye)
Does not share interests with others by 15 months of age (for example, shows you an object that they like)
Does not point to show you something interesting by 18 months of age Does not notice when others are hurt or upset by 24 months of age.
These were the symptoms of autism.
Autism: what is autism this condition never occurred in our minds even after observing all the symptoms.
What Is Autism
“Autism spectrum disorder is a difference in the way a person’s brain develops. People with ASD are born with it and their problems usually begin in the first couple of years of life. They may have trouble with communicating and relating to others”
What Causes Autism
No one knows exactly what causes ASD. It probably has something to do with DNA – the genes passed down from your parents – and other things, like infections or toxins that change the way the brain develops.
Problems during pregnancy and around the time of birth raise the chance of getting autism.
The statistics from South Asia estimate that there may be 350,000 children with autism in Pakistan. Unfortunately, most of these children remain undiagnosed due to the lack of awareness and expertise in diagnosisaccording to the estimates of the Pakistan Autism Society, about 350,000 children are suffering from ASD in Pakistan.According to the Centres for Disease. Research shows that early intervention leads to positive outcomes later in life for people with autism.
What do you think are the greatest
challenges for parents of autistic
children in Pakistan?
The most important problem is that early diagnosis is very difficult especially in the rural areas, with the result that by the time parents get to know about autism, the child is already quite considerably older, and intervention therapies are not so effective. At the same time, there is a critical shortage of special education,teachers and therapists in the country, and whatever therapies are available, these are too expensive for parents. . The parents often suffer silently and perhaps more unfortunate are the affected children who have to bear the brunt of the disorder and being mishandled.
At the end I would like to say..
“There is an acute shortage of special schools in the country, while mainstream schools do not accept children with autism. In my opinion many of them are not equipped to do so even if there was appropriate legislation in this regard as mandated by the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.”
As times are changing , there is increase in awareness campaigns . through social networking sites , short videos and television advertisements. Even me and other people suffering from autism are getting to know about autism. Lastly I would like to say that awareness campaigns could continue to prosper and spread their message to help parents and people in Pakistan.
Rukhsana Amir, Quratulane,
Ghania, Haniya, Khushbakht
Riphah international university