Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Health: India home of 8 million persons with autism, other development disorders – Sonia Gandhi

Source: IRNA

New Delhi, Feb 12, IRNA - Existence of some 8 million persons with autism and other development disorders in India required greater and more systematic approach on the issue, Chairperson of the National Advisory Council Sonia Gandhi said Monday in New Delhi.

Inaugurating the day-long South Asian Autism Network (SAAN) Conference, Gandhi said mothers of children with autism and other development disorders suffered a lot by thinking about the future of their children. As the life-long afflicted children needed life-long support, we should come forward and help them, Gandhi said.

The First International Conference on Autism Spectrum Disorder and Developmental Disabilities held in July 2011 at Dhaka was a momentous event conducted on the issue.

It helped in focusing the attention of the region and world children with autism and other development disorders.

In his welcome address to the SAAN conference, GhulamNabi Azad, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare said that nine priority actions were endorsed in Dhaka Declaration to realize a vision to meet healthcare needs of children with developmental disorders.

"Today we are meeting again to take forward this important public health initiative to safeguard against discrimination and social exclusion," Azad said appreciating the government of Bangladesh for being the true spirit behind the regional co-operation.

He also hoped that the outcome of the deliberations leading to the Delhi Declaration would be another historical guidepost in the long journey of meeting the unmet needs of children, families and communities suffering from Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Beside host India, representatives from Bangladesh, Thailand and WHO, SEARO participated in the daylong conference.

Autism is a complex condition and individuals with autism have a completely different social understanding of the world from those who are non-autistic. The challenges in processing information and in social communication make it hard for most them to express themselves and advocate for their rights.