Autism management protocol

02 Apr 2018, 09:26

Sayed Ahmed*

The number of autistic children is increasing at an alarming rate in the country. Autism, the disorder, as it is claimed is not curable but manageable to some extent. If we fail to take proper steps for limiting and managing the condition of the people with the disorder, the country will be burdened with a large number of people with impaired social and intellectual capabilities. However put, most of the autistic people are dependent on others even for daily activities, let alone productive works; thus, they become burdens on family, society and the country. So, we must take all out measures to handle the disorder by encouraging people for early intervention as well as trying to help autistic children leading a life as normal as possible. The government has massive role on the autism management protocol because the government is the only institution that controls the largest mechanism to reach the grass root level.

Massive awareness campaign and special education are two foremost factors that will boost autism management. First, we need to make people aware of the traits, symptoms, management and consequences of the disorder. The government must lead a substantial campaign throughout the country by broadcasting informative and inspiring ads and documents on radio, TV channels and social media. Billboards with the information and messages about autism at the centers of the cities, towns and villages will also encourage people to accept and socialize with autistic children.  The campaign will assist the parents in opting for early intervention and others in accepting autistic children which is a must for the development of the latter group. Second, the government must ensure that every school (in urban and rural areas) accepts special children and each school must have at least one special education teacher. Medical colleges should offer diploma and bachelor courses on special education to produce special education teachers. They should also arrange training sessions for special education teachers on a regular basis. Third, the government will support and monitor private special schools. To support them, they will create modern and updated curriculum for them. They will also monitor their activities through regular vigilance. Moreover, they will check their curriculum, space, environment, teaching, therapy, hygiene, fees and attitude towards the children and their parents. If any special school is found below the standard level, the government should shut that down. Fourth, the government should arrange training sessions for parents of the autistic children on a regular basis.

We have an acute shortage of educated and trained physicians for autism. Still, pediatricians are considered as autism doctors who do not have specific, updated knowledge about the disorder. The government must produce a pool of physicians and therapists and place them at all government hospitals in the country. If they send doctors abroad for education and training, it will take more money and longer time; rather, Sheikh Mujib Medical University and medical colleges should offer bachelor and diploma degrees in child development, ASD, ADHD, occupational therapy, speech therapy, child psychology, etc. at. Updated curriculum, textbooks and well-educated teachers should be hired from the Western countries that have progressed in research and treatment of autism. Every single government hospital in the country should have the facilities for identification and management of autism in the outdoor for free. The government may also allow private hospitals to offer treatment for autism but they must control their service and fees. All medical colleges and at least one hospital in every district should have separate autism departments.

Identification, symptoms, treatments, management and medication of autism are still shrouded by lot of mysteries throughout the world and the scientists or physicians are not yet sure about various aspects of this disorder. As a result, parents of autistic children are perplexed.  Being helpless, many parents search on the Internet and order various drugs online that cost a lot of money without verified knowledge. The government should assist pharmaceuticals of the country in producing supplementary drugs for autism. Moreover, they should remove tax on importing autism drugs and equipment. Furthermore, we should produce necessary equipment for autism.

Finally, for the development of autistic children, we have to accept them as they are, welcome them to our houses and events; socialize with them and ensure their free movement in the society, especially public places like entertainment parks, shopping malls and kid zones. A government-led comprehensive plan and its proper implementation will reduce the number of autistic children through early intervention and help them—who are already declared as autistic—develop properly. Thus, our society will be less burdened with the disorder and we will learn how to manage our living with them.

*The author is a freelancer. He can be reached at