New centre brings hope for research in autism
In a move that will bring hope to families dealing with autism and related disorders among children, doctors at St. John’s National Academy of Health Sciences have started a Centre for Advanced Research and Excellence in Autism and Developmental Disorders (CARE-ADD).
Over 35 families participated in an awareness programme conducted as part of World Disability Week on Monday.
“Although the centre was formally launched two months ago, we brought the families together on Monday to create more awareness about the centre. We plan to have such awareness programmes once in three months. As of now, we have a database of 800 families,” said a doctor.
CARE-ADD is a multi-disciplinary research centre, which will conduct research on the biological underpinnings of autism and related developmental disorders while also exploring cost-effective interventions. “This includes the development of tools and technologies for early diagnosis and treatment, and scalable models of care,” said Ashok Mysore V., a consultant child psychiatrist who also heads CARE-ADD.
The centre will conduct foundational research in genomics, brain studies and child behaviour. “This will enable us to uncover the myriad of complex relationships among genetics – brain circuitry – behaviour, subsequently leading to an understanding of autism. While long-term research is at the core of the centre, in parallel, the centre will provide screening, therapy, education and parent programmes to address current issues immediately. We also plan to scale up our services to government hospitals in the State,” the doctor explained.
Lauding the services of CARE-ADD, Rajini Parthasarathy, State Deputy Director (Mental Health), said, “We should ensure the new cost-effective interventions and technologies for early diagnosis should reach every autistic child.”
Nisha Vidyasagar, a parent who attended the programme, said what parents of autistic children expect from society is that it should not be judgemental about a child’s condition. “We need a society that is not judgemental about my child’s condition so that we can expose the child to society without any fear,” she said.