Chandigarh : Autism is a neuro developmental disorder that appears during early childhood. In this disorder a child’s communication and social behavior may be deviant. Child may also have some odd repetitive behaviors. At times children having this disorder also have intellectual disability. This disorder is usually apparent before 3 years of age.
Department of Psychiatry, Govt Medical college and Hospital, sector 32 is running child guidance clinic since 1998 where more than 200 cases with Autism have come. There is also Regional Institute for Mentally handicapped attached with it where more than 250 children with Autism are enrolled. Both these institutes have facilities for diagnosis and management of Autism. In child guidance clinic it has been observed that many children are brought to hospital at much later age when remedial intervention has less effect. In department of Psychiatry a regular group meeting is being held for parents of children of Autism on a monthly basis for almost a decade now. A manual for guiding parents who live in far flung areas has also been developed.
Autism is being diagnosed more and more often world over. Recent prevalence studies indicate 68 per 1000 children were having this disorder in USA. Similar trend is being seen in child guidance clinic also. However there is no prevalence rate available from India.
Indian Council of medical research has sanctioned a project to dept of psychiatry to conduct prevalence study in Chandigarh by conducting a survey of households. This disorder is one of key research area for Indian council of medical research as it has long term consequences for the health of the nation. In this project a population of 1 lakh from different sectors and villages of Chandigarh will be covered by counselors and research workers from department of psychiatry. All children between ages of one and a half to 10 years will be assessed. Community survey is being started on 2nd April 2015 to commemorate world autism awareness day. Dept of psychiatry solicits cooperation of residents of Chandigarh by providing the information to make this survey a success.