Extent of autism unclear due to government indifference


Absence of government data makes it difficult to gauge the prevalence of autism in the country

No  survey has been conducted by the government on the increasing population of autistic children in the country to assess their development at different stages of autism.

“There is no recent data by the government on the increasingly shocking numbers of children having autism in the country and the different strata at which it gets worse. The financial help given by the government to such children which is availed by very few families also doesn’t help,” said Rachana Renukumar, who runs a school named Sense Kaleidoscopes for children with autism.

The recent data by the government based on 2011 census shows there are 13 million autistic people in India and one in every 89 people has autism, confirm experts.

“The only data we can refer to given by the government came out years ago which clearly does not show the current scenario. One in every 89 children has autism says the recent data which is also increasing with passing days. There needs to be an aggressive awareness to up bring kids with autism as there is a development delay in their cases. There are stages where even the parents of such kids lose their patience and 13 million is not a small number,” said Rita Mahajan, a spiritual scientist.

“We are working on approaching the government to come up with policies for the Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) as there are no current strong Acts which support such families mentally and financially,” said Akshayee Shetty, founder of Sense Kaleidoscopes.

The parents of autistic children share how there are no good therapists to make us understand such situations.

“No mainstream schools accept your child. No therapists advised me to admit my kid to the school as no mainstream schools accepts your child. They recommend to teach the child how to eat and other basic manners but forget about schooling,” said Jyoti, mother of an autistic child Arush.

“Therapist only gave me the negative side of autism when I was losing my patience. Nobody showed me the positive side to handle the kid tactfully,” said Shekhar, father of autistic child Nandu.