Awareness, intervention, acceptance of the diagnosis and getting timely and proper care can go a long way to help children challenge autism spectrum disorder. But the fact remains that there are several autism awareness problems in India that are hurdles to address the disorder.
Awareness about autism, even among doctors, was very low even two decades back. At the same time, there were many nomenclatures for the range of conditions. Thankfully, this has changed over the years. But there are no objective laboratory tests to determine whether or not a child has autism. Diagnosis is always subjective. Specialists have to observe a child and put two plus two together. Much of the diagnosis is based on inference.
But one of the biggest autism awareness problems in India is that parents refuse to believe that their child has autism.
What has compounded to autism awareness problems is the plethora of largely contradictory information available on the internet. Many people willingly hunt for information that says their child doesn’t have autism and prefer to believe the same. Symptoms often vary among children and can’t always be categorised as something common to all.
Science and Childhood Autism in India
Integrating a child into the mainstream education system, after the diagnosis, is an even bigger challenge. Schools should have special educators and the resources to handle special children. But there is a dearth of proper training schools for special educators in India.
Therapy for children with autism is usually one on one. But there are too many such children in India and very few therapists. Besides, most children don’t have any access to therapists. While consultations may be possible through video conferencing, one of the major problems is that internet is still not within the reach of everybody.