A study by UCLA on India autism diagnosis has revealed that parents in the country notice something different in their child at least six to 10 months later than their counterparts in the US. Child development norms in India are culturally shaped and this impacts when symptoms are recognized as problematic.
Typically, a child in India who keeps quiet without showing too much emotion, is considered ‘good’. Even if parents suspect that something is wrong, they hesitate to consult a psychiatrist because of social stigma attached to it. Taking a child to a psychiatrist means that something is ‘mentally’ wrong with him/her. This is the larger belief in the Indian society.
In many western countries like the US, all children must be screened for the presence of autism spectrum disorder by two years of age, regardless of whether they are developing like a neuro-typical child or not. In India, unfortunately, there is no such rule that can help parents get their children screened sans any societal fears.
That aside, even when a child is correctly diagnosed of autism, there are scant resources at the disposal of parents. Majority of the schools in India are not properly equipped to handle special children. Education of a child with autism is a complex problem. In most cases they require individual attention and educating them in the mainstream, among a group, calls for expertly trained professionals.
The India autism diagnosis situation is only in its nascent stage. At the same time, there is a pertinent need to build schools for special children and even train teachers of regular schools to handle children with autism.