Salalah, Oct 18 – One in every 68 children has autism in the Sultanate, according to available statistics, which is higher than the global average of one in 100. The country has risen to the occasion by devising various strategies to deal with autism in children.
A two-day workshop titled ‘Strategies for Parents to Deal with Autistic Children’ opened at Crowne Plaza Salalah Resort on Wednesday. It discussed these facts amid advises and solutions suggested to parents having autistic children.
The workshop opened under the auspices of Sayyid Mohammed bin Sultan bin Hamoud al Busaidi, Minister of State and Governor of Dhofar, in the presence of parents of autistic children, health officials, healthcare staff and government officials drawn from several departments.
Experts from the May Institute, Boston gave lectures at the event. Dr Ralph Sperry of the institute spoke about the right intervention to treat autistic children.
Autism, according to experts gathered at the workshop, “is a lifelong developmental condition that affects, among other things, the way an individual relates to his/ her environment and their interaction with other people.”
According to Dr Amira al Raidan, Head of the Mental Health section at the Ministry of Health’s (MoH) Department of Non-Communicable Diseases, said the average rate of autism in children in 2015 was 1/68.
“There is no doubt Autism Spectrum Disorder is in need of a large and wide-ranging movement because of the increasing number of cases. Providing diagnostic services in tertiary care as well as increasing community awareness for early detection are of primary importance for the Ministry of Health,” she said.
The workshop is in line with MoH’s plan to raise awareness among people and convince them not to be shy in availing of facilities offered to autistic children. “In case of any doubt or abnormality, the parents should bring their children to the health centres for primary screening,” said Dr Amira.
The workshop will also focus on identifying Autism Spectrum Disorder, current situation in the Sultanate, understanding the factors influencing its spread, identifying the available health services, the need for early detection and the importance of early comprehensive intervention.