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LETTERS TO EDITOR
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 32  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 234-235

Meeting the needs of people with autism spectrum disorders in rural settings


1 Vice Principal Curriculum, Department of Community Medicine, Member of the Medical Education Unit & Medical Research Unit, Chennai, India
2 Department of Psychiatry, Institute of Mental Health, Madras Medical College, Chennai, India
3 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Web Publication11-Feb-2019

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
3rd Floor, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai Village, Thiruporur, Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram - 603 108, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jms.jms_49_17

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How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Krishnan S, Shrivastava PS. Meeting the needs of people with autism spectrum disorders in rural settings. J Med Soc 2018;32:234-5

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Krishnan S, Shrivastava PS. Meeting the needs of people with autism spectrum disorders in rural settings. J Med Soc [serial online] 2018 [cited 2019 Aug 19];32:234-5. Available from: http://www.jmedsoc.org/text.asp?2018/32/3/234/251994

Sir,

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) comprise of a wide range of conditions distinguished by impairment of social behavior, communication, and language, along with a tapered range of interests and actions which is exclusively for a person and performed over and over again.[1] Although the disease has an onset in early childhood, the disease extends into adolescence and adulthood and is often associated with coexisting mental illnesses such as epilepsy or mood disorders.[1],[2] Moreover, some of the affected individuals can suffer from severe disabilities and thus need life-long care and supportive services.[1]

The global estimates suggest that 1 out of 160 children are suffering from an ASD, and no precise estimates are available from low- and middle-income nations.[1] Moreover, findings of different epidemiological studies have indicated a rising incidence of ASD, probably due to the more awareness, broadening of diagnostic criteria, improved diagnostic ways, and better notification of the disease.[1],[3] Further, the intellectual level of the affected person is quite variable, which can extensively restrict the ability of a person to perform routine activities and their participation in the community.[3]

In addition, the condition also influences the educational or vocational status of the affected individual, and more often than not, the individual becomes a liability to the family and poses a great financial load on the other family members.[1],[3] In addition, the scenario becomes even more difficult, when the desired supportive services are not easily accessible.[1] Thus, it is indispensable to empower the caregivers to ensure that care interventions are offered to children with ASD.[3] In fact, intervention in the early childhood phase is required to facilitate the optimal development of the affected people.[2],[3]

Owing to the complex needs of the affected people, there is a great need to implement a range of comprehensive services, such as health promotion, care, rehabilitation services, and involvement of all the concerned sectors.[1] Further, the adequate impetus has been given toward providing required information and other services to the affected person as well as their families.[1],[3] However, due to the absence of any cure for the spectrum of disorders, interventions such as behavioral treatment and skills training programs for the affected individual can play a remarkable role in improving the quality of life.[3]

In addition, efforts should be taken to minimize the associated stigma, discrimination, and violation of basic fundamental human rights, and thus improve the reach of available services.[1] Acknowledging the basic fact that people with ASD have higher rates of unmet healthcare needs, there is a significant need to improve the commitment of policymakers toward the disease.[1],[2],[3] In addition, formulation of policies and interventions to meet the needs of ASD people along with a simultaneous improvement in the mental health of the general population, organize programs for the development of skills among parents.[1],[2],[3]

To conclude, as the incidence of ASDs is on the rise, attempts should be taken to ensure that physical and social environment of the patients is more accessible, inclusive, and supportive.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

 
  References Top

1.
World Health Organization. Autism Spectrum Disorders – Fact Sheet. World Health Organization; 2017. Available from: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/autism-spectrum-disorders/en/. [Last accessed on 2017 Jun 19].  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Childhood and adolescence: Challenges in mental health. J Can Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 2013;22:84-5.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Shrivastava SR, Krishnan S, Shrivastava PS. Responding to the challenge of autism spectrum disorder in low-resource settings. J Neurosci Rural Pract 2016;7:472-3.  Back to cited text no. 3
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