Autism, a Global Challenge

In 2007, United Nations declared April 2 as “Day world of awareness-raising about the Autism”, due to the high incidence of this disease in children around the world and aiming to improve their treatment. How to prevent, diagnose and treat this disease?

The UN estimated “Autism is an incurable disease that affects 6 in 1,000 children aged 10 and alter the capabilities of communication, relationship and imagination, without that, for the time being, its exact causes are known.”

It is believed that it affects four times more men than women, although there are studies that contradict these figures.

The symptoms tend to be very varied.

Some studies consider that up to 75% of people with autism have learning difficulties.

Intellectual deficiencies are common among people with autism, as he explained to BBC World Mohammad Taghi Yasamy, medical officer of the World Health Organization.

However, other experts say that autistic individuals may also possess exceptional skills.

It is believed that an autistic may have problems to communicate through spoken language and yet show excellent aptitude for writing, drawing, mathematics or music, to cite some examples.

Without services

Autism is not a common disease, and yet there are no solutions clear for treatment, especially in developing countries, according to Yasamy explained.

“Today, 20% of children suffer some form of mental disorder at the global level.” “In high income countries, 50 per cent of people needing services for mental health conditions do not receive them, while in low-income countries, 90 per cent of the affected population remains without access to necessary services”, warned.

Without cure

Yasamy says that it is still difficult to say that there is a cure for autism.

Today, you can do much to maximize the potential of a child suffering from this condition.

For example, an adequate special education focused on the development of speech and body language as well as behavior therapy is important.

However, despite the varied possibilities, which also include the use of medications, changes in diet and other alternative methods, even there a definitive cure.

There is even less sufficient information about its magnitude, especially in low-income countries, according to Yasamy said.

The expert indicated the need for a global agenda for autism that focuses on three areas: an awareness campaign, the development of services not only for autism but for the treatment of all children’s mental disorders and more research to create more effective treatments and preventive measures.

He said that the world autism awareness day is an opportunity to go beyond awareness, beyond autism which is only a part of a wider spectrum of mental disorders and raising awareness of the mental health of the children of the world in general.