ISLAMABAD: The 7th World Autism Awareness Day will be observed today (Wednesday) across the world including Pakistan.

Autism is a disorder of neural development characterised by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication, and absence of normal behaviour. Infants developing autism display its symptoms at an age as young as 18 months. There are different opinions about the causes of autism but early diagnosis and treatment can help a lot.

According to a recent research conducted at six special education schools in Islamabad, prevalence rate of autism stands at 7.75 per cent out of a population of 580 children.

Haleema Sadia, autism specialist at Shifa International, said that a few centres available for autistic children lacked specialists and proper treatment. She said the government could play an effective role by using lady health workers for raising awareness among masses about autism.–Staff Reporter