Early intervention, sensor motor stimulation, application of self-help skills and social skill training alone will cure various types of mental disorders, including autism, as mental retardation is not amenable for drug treatment, according to K.V. Kishore Kumar, Professor, National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences, Bangalore.

He was addressing a special training programme to a group of doctors on ‘Mental disorders including how to diagnose children with autism, attention deficiency and hyperactivity and dyslexia,' organised by the District Rehabilitation Department here on Friday.

One out of four children with mental disorders will have epilepsy. Two to six cases among 1,000 children are affected by autism and boy girl ratio is 4:1. Intervention is extremely difficult. Change will not come easily. It is an extremely time intensive and backbreaking activity.

Seventy per cent of parents of children with mental disorders too suffered psycho semantic disorders and mental depression. Resistance to change, difficulty in expressing one's needs, repeating words and may not want to cuddle were symptoms of autism, he said.

He also ruled out any medical test for diagnosing autism.

So, all doctors, irrespective of their specialisation, should know something with mental disorders at least to detect such cases at the right time and send them to specialist to start quick treatment and also save patients' time and money, he advised.

“Doctors should have reading habit. Without that doctors will be neither be useful to himself nor to the society.”

Hyperactivity was associated with or without mental retardation. Poor study, poor attention, and poor self-help and social skills were symptom of children aged between 6-18 years. Application of head to toe with oil and muscle massage will have an effect. Non-availability of special teachers was the biggest handicap, he added.

The NIMHANS Doctor Sekar said the outcome of a pilot study on mental health being conducted in Dindigul and Kodaikanal will be a role model for the central and state governments to frame a new policy on children mental health. In his special address, Collector M. Vallalar said that census on children with mental disorder was completed in urban areas and 80 per cent of work was over in rural areas. On completion of the census, experts from NIMHANS will screen chosen children and start treatment.

Joint Director of Health Services T. Jayabal said 50 doctors would be trained under this programme to screen cases in the district. District Rehabilitation Officer T. Mathivanan spoke.

Keywords: Medical advice

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