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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
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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 2020 Sep 25];32:234-5. Available from:


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.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

World Health Organization. Autism Spectrum Disorders – Fact Sheet. World Health Organization; 2017. Available from: [Last accessed on 2017 Jun 19].  Back to cited text no. 1
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
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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