There is a burgeoning increase in the numbers of ASD in the past 2 decades with almost 1-1.5% of children falling in the autism spectrum. Though the Indian Academy of Paediatrics has recommended screening of all children for ASD at 18 and 24 months it is not being regularly done by the health professionals due to lack of awareness and time in a busy paediatric clinic. Hence, there is a substantial delay in identifying cases of ASD and there is an urgent need to increase the awareness among health professionals, Anganwadi workers, and teachers to enable them to identify the “red flags” of ASD. Identifying children early would make them benefit the most from early intervention.
Evidence-based, multidisciplinary early intervention services for children diagnosed with ASD are not easily available in all parts of India. The team of professionals available is very few compared to the number of children who need intervention. Hence many children do not get appropriate, adequate, and timely intervention. This leaves parents helpless, unable to understand how to help their child communicate, learn skills, form friendships, and manage behaviours, and the child’s developmental lag worsens over time. The project through its online videos, webinars and workshops will work to solve this challenge.
The project through its outreach will create "Friends of Autism", who will work towards supporting families across tier 2 and tier 3 cities by connecting them with the portal to access resources and specialised services.