Autism Spectrum Disorder affects speech, movement and behaviour: Dr. Aftab Khan

Autism Spectrum Disorder affects speech, movement and behaviour: Dr. Aftab Khan

ABBOTTABAD, Apr 02 (APP): Head of Psychiatry department Ayub Medical Complex (AMC) Abbottabad Professor Dr. Aftab Alam Khan Tuesday highlighted the challenges posed by Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) on the occasion of the World Day of Children’s Nervous Diseases. He expressed these views while addressing an awareness seminar at AMC.

Dr. Aftab Alam said that ASD, a mental developmental disorder affecting speech, movements, and behaviors, has seen a significant rise in prevalence over the past two decades.

Citing data from the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Aftab Alam Khan noted that one in every 100 children globally is diagnosed with ASD, with a particularly rapid increase observed in some regions such as the United States, where one in 35 children is affected.

While the exact causes of ASD remain unidentified, Dr. Aftab Alam Khan pointed to several factors including genetic predisposition, advanced parental age, prenatal exposure to certain medications, and environmental influences. He highlighted the profound impact of ASD, noting that 40% of affected children struggle with speech, with many exhibiting delayed speech development until around 18 to 25 months of age.

Emphasizing the importance of early diagnosis, the head of Psychiatry department stated that most cases are identified by the age of three, underscoring the need for timely intervention and support.

Despite the absence of specific medications and treatments, Dr. Aftab Alam Khan stressed the potential for positive outcomes through early diagnosis and tailored therapies, which can help alleviate symptoms and improve quality of life for affected individuals.

In light of these challenges, he urged governmental efforts to establish specialized autism centers, ensuring equitable access to treatment facilities for all residents of Pakistan.

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