April 2 is International Autism Awareness Day. Autism spectrum disorder is a common, heterogenous and heritable neurodevelopmental disorder affecting multiple spheres like communication, socialization and emotional reactions.There is an alarming increase in prevalence of autism in recent times with around 1 in 100 children getting affected. Children and adults with autism spectrum disorders are often subjected to bullying, discrimination, and decreased opportunities.Symptoms of many go unrecognized even though effective diagnostic management tools exist.To create awareness about Autism Spectrum Disorders among frontline health care workers, doctors, students and community, Dr. BR. Ambedkar State Institute of Medical Sciences, Sahibzada Ajit Singh Nagar organized a two- day International Conference on Autism Awareness and Neurodiversity on Saturday.Renowned national and international speakers participated in the conference.Speakers like Dr Prahbhjot Malhi from PGIMER, Chandigarh, Dr Jessica Brian from University of Toronto, Dr. Bhavneet Bharti Director Principal, Dr Sharmila Mukherjee Professor Pediatrics Lady Harding Medical College and Dr Nidhi Malhotra from AIMS, Mohali.Experts deliberated about various aspects of diagnosis and management of Autism spectrum disorders and train frontline workers, doctors and community alike.On Sunday, an awareness session encompassing experts from various areas like Madhavi Kataria, Director Social Security, Women and Child Development; Dr Sunita Seshadri, Deputy Director, NIPCCD; Dr Arun Singh AIIMS Jodhpur and Dr Jaskirandeep State Program officer RBSK; Dr Olaf Kraus de Camargo from McMaster University, Canada, Kavita Das Principal St John’s School. There would be discussions pertaining to the role of various agencies and sectors in making a more inclusive community for people with Autism. An action plan for Mohali District shall also be discussed by SAP, Mohali.
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