Autism Screening Starts in Yazd Province

There are about 2,200 children with ASD registered at the SWO.  There are about 2,200 children with ASD registered at the SWO.

As part of a nationwide effort to identify and provide support for children with autism, screening tests are now underway in central Yazd Province after Tehran Province, where the program was launched last October and around 4,000 children with the disorder were identified during the screening process till mid-February.

“The autism screening project began in early March in Ardakan,” the second major city in the province after the capital Yazd, said Amirvali Azodzadeh, head of the provincial department of the State Welfare Organization.

So far 600 children in the city have been examined and seven sent to special medical centers for further diagnosis and early intervention, as reported by IRNA. Officials expect 1,500 children in Yazd Province to be diagnosed with ASD based on the incidence rate in the region.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is the name for a group of developmental disorders including a wide range of symptoms, skills, and levels of disability such as ongoing social problems, difficulty communicating, repetitive behaviors, and limited interests or activities.

The neurological disorder is usually graded in severity along a spectrum. It causes problems with thinking, feeling, language, and relating to others. Around 1% of the world population has ASD, according to

Autism now affects 1 in 180 children and is five times more common in boys. Its prevalence figures are growing and have tripled over the past decade.

There is no medical detection or cure as it still isn’t clear what causes the disorder. Also, autism is far more likely to affect boys than girls, a fact that is still unexplained. But cost of lifelong care can be reduced by 2/3 with early diagnosis and intervention. Parents usually notice signs in the first two years of their child’s life.

Autism rate has tripled over the past decade across the world. It is not clear whether the actual incidence has increased or it is due to more awareness on the condition and better diagnostic screening.

  No Official Figures

There is no official estimate of Iran’s autistic population although the SWO says the numbers diagnosed are rising. There are about 2,200 children with ASD registered at the SWO.

Head of the Isfahan Department of SWO told ISNA earlier this week that out of every 67 children in the province one is diagnosed as beingw autistic.

“The golden period of diagnosis is before the age of three,” said Seyyed Asghar Fayyaz, stressing the importance of information and awareness on the issue in the society.

“Through the SWO’s nationwide screening initiative, and by admitting their children to designated kindergartens and pre-school facilities, families can learn about their child’s status and take action if necessary.”

Early diagnosis, intervention and instructional strategies for parents are being provided through an SWO online screening program via standardized questionnaires.  The SWO’s nationwide screening program was launched in October 2016 in Tehran to identify children with ASD for timely diagnosis and treatment. Officials estimate that there could be around 70,000 children in the country with ASD.

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