New parent-led therapy can help autistic kids in India

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Published: December 17, 2015 5:18:08 PM

India and Pakistan are set to benefit from a parent-based therapy that helps children with autism, according to a new study.

India and Pakistan are set to benefit from a parent-based therapy that helps children with autism, according to a new study.

In a world first, clinical researchers from the Universities of Liverpool and Manchester have collaborated with colleagues in south Asia to adapt a parent-led autism therapy.

Successfully tested it in India and Pakistan, the partnership aims to improve treatment for an estimated five million children in the region with the disorder.

Autism is one of the world’s fastest growing developmental health challenges, with up to 70 million people affected, causing a severe effect on the social development of children. In developed countries children are able to receive specialist treatment to improve their interaction with their families, but in many lower income countries, this is not available.

As a result, researchers adapted a leading UK therapy method known as PACT which helps parents interact better with their autistic child.

Atif Rahman from the University of Liverpool and Jonathan Green from The University of Manchester, lead authors of the study, said: “We’ve shown that these techniques can help children in the UK, but in south Asia, there are factors such as lack of resources, trained staff, language and cultural differences and poor access to medical centres which means that methods need to be adapted.

They added that this study is the first to have adapted a treatment so as to allow it to be delivered by non-specialist health workers in south Asian communities. It has been outstandingly successful in showing that such adaptation is both possible and can produce changes that are equal or even better that we achieved in UK.

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