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Parents should seek medical attention as soon as they notice unusual signs in the development and growth of their children, a senior Government official has said. At the Autism Awareness Day in Harare yesterday, Health and Child Care Deputy Minister Dr Paul Chimedza said parents should be on the lookout for developmental problems in their children.

World Autism Day is commemorated on April 2 annually and this year’s theme was “Autism awareness helps early identification and prompt management”.

Dr Chimedza said behaviour such as failing to make eye contact, not responding when called, and playing with toys in unusual, repetitive ways were some of the signs of autism.

“When these signs are observed, parents are encouraged to see a doctor who will assess and refer the child to an appropriate specialist for diagnosis and management,” he said.

“Diagnosis can also open access to therapies and assistive technologies that can improve function in areas of difficulty and, so improve overall quality of life,” Dr Chimedza added.

The director of Pathways Autism Trust, Ms Flora Chinhaire, said autism awareness was important to overcoming cultural and social stigma.

Source : The Herald