ATH establishes first-ever Autism resource center


Department of Psychiatry, Ayub Teaching Hospital Friday has started first-ever public sector Autism resource center and diagnostic clinic in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with an aim to build a better society and to recognize neuro developmental issues at the earlier stage. Dean Ayub Medical Teaching Institution Dr. Umer Farooq along with Medical Director Dr. Ahsan Aurangzeb and Hospital Director Dr. Nadeem Akhtar inaugurated the Autism resource center and said that this was the first-ever Autism Recourse Center in any public sector hospital in KP.
Head of Psychiatry Department, Dr.Aftab Alam Khan told that Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neuro developmental disorder characterized by marked deficits in social Communication (failure to initiate or respond to social interactions), deficits in nonverbal communication (e.g Poor Eye Contact), deficits in speech, developing relationships along with restrictive or repetitive patterns of behavior, interests or activities.
Media Manager ATH, Amber Javed informed the media that Autism Diagnostic center will offer services on every first and third Saturday of the month, while the Intervention Center will offer the services from every Monday to Friday. The center will be run by trained clinical psychologists with expertise in testing and assessment. The Psychiatry Department has experienced Psychiatrist, Clinical Psychologist, and Speech therapists. The Psychiatry Department also holds the credit of establishing the first-ever student counseling Center in Ayub Medical College Abbottabad, she said.
Clinical Psychologist Maimoona Rashid, Aisha Saleem and Speech Therapist Zubia Mushtaq will run the resource center in the supervision of Dr. Aftab Alam Khan.
Speech Therapist Dr. Zobia Mustaq said that it requires a minimum of 3 to 4 sessions to carry out a complete assessment for Autism, ADHD and Intellectual ability comprising of the initial session of informal assessment with 2 or 3 formal assessment sessions depending upon the condition of the client.
In 2018 the CDC determined that approximately 1 in 59 children is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Boys are four times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls.
Most children were still being diagnosed after age 4, though autism can be reliably diagnosed as early as age 2.  Autism affects all ethnic and socioeconomic groups, there is no medical detection for autism. So, early intervention offers the best opportunity to support healthy development and deliver benefits across the lifespan.