This new parent-led autism treatment will benefit Indian children

This new parent-led autism treatment will benefit Indian children

Researchers identify parent-led autism therapy that can greatly benefit Indian children with the disorder

The prevalence rate of autism in India is 1 in 250 (figure may vary as many cases are not diagnosed) and currently 10 million people are suffering in India. Scientists have successfully tested a new parent-led autism treatment programme in India and Pakistan that could help improve the lives of millions of autistic children in these developing countries.

This therapy was a 12-week program that helped parents interact better with their autistic children.

To adapt this therapy, the clinical researchers from the Universities of Liverpool and Manchester in UK, collaborated with colleagues in south Asia. After the successful test in India and Pakistan, they are now working to improve treatment for an estimated 5 million autistic children in the region.

Researchers adapted a leading UK therapy method known as PACT, which helps parents interact better with their autistic children. The resulting PASS (parent-mediated intervention for autism spectrum disorder in South Asia) programme was taught to non-specialist health workers in Rawalpindi in Pakistan and Goa in India. These health workers then worked with parents of 65 autistic children who were recruited to the trial.

"We've shown that these techniques can help children in the UK, but in South Asia, there are factors such as lack of resources, trained staff, language and cultural differences and poor access to medical centres, which means that methods need to be adapted," says the lead author of the study.

The researchers quoted that ,"It has been outstandingly successful in showing that such adaptation is both possible and can produce changes that are equal or even better that we achieved in UK.”

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