Workshop on how to use autism assessment tool

MUSCAT: The Ministry of Health (MOH), represented by the Mental Health Section of the non-Communicable Diseases Department, on Sunday organized a training workshop on using the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) tool. The event was held under the auspices of Dr Yahya bin Badr al Ma’awali, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Social Development. The three-day workshop includes several working papers presented by experts in the field of ASD from US to train doctors on the clinical skills and the best methods in diagnosing Autism. Spectrum Disorder (ASD) using ADOS. Around 50 adult Psychiatrists and Psychologists from the Sultanate are taking part in the workshop.

“The workshop is organized with the purpose of developing psychiatrists’ skills in using tools of ASD diagnosis and working on enhancing mental healthcare services for children and adults,” said Dr Said bin Harib al Lamki, Director-General of Primary Health Care. The 2015 statistics indicate that the 474 diagnosed cases in Al Masarah Hospital include 106 new cases, 313 regular follow up cases, and 55 unspecified cases. The cases in the Sultan Qaboos University Hospital (SQUH) reached 800. Although these figures are estimated because of unavailability of a national record, it is expected that the cases will be increasing by time.

Dr Ralph Sperry, Chief Operator Officer of the National Autism Center – May Institute of USA, reviewed the working papers that will be presented in the training workshop and highlighted the diagnostic tool (ADOS) and certification policy. Later, Dr Amira al Raidan, Head of Mental Health Section, reviewed the early screening for Autism Spectrum Disorders in the Sultanate using M-CHAT and stressed the importance of ASD early detection. — ONA