All Provinces Covered by National Autism Plan

The educational package for families includes  five manuals and specifically-designed toys.
The educational package for families includes  five manuals and specifically-designed toys.

The State Welfare Organization has launched a national screening, diagnosis and intervention scheme for autism spectrum disorder in every province.

As part of the scheme centers for ASD education and rehabilitation have been set up across Iran.

The scheme includes plans to raise awareness about the disorder as well as complementary screening for 2 to 5-year-old children and intervention programs in cooperation with families, ISNA reported.

An online screening test has been available at since last December which enables parents to determine whether their children have symptoms consistent with autism.

The test includes a set of 10 questions and if parents give affirmative answers to more than three questions, children should be taken to one of the SWO autism centers listed on the website for additional diagnostic procedures.

Those who do not have access to the Internet can refer to provincial SWO offices across the country where medical teams offer screening services.

If complementary tests confirm the disorder, the child will be referred to the provincial autism center to receive the necessary help that includes counseling for the children and their families and at-home and center-based therapy.

According to Hossein Nahvinejad, rehabilitation deputy at the SWO, intervention programs have been designed to involve families in the rehabilitation process.

“Families with autistic children will be given an educational package that  includes five manuals and specifically-designed toys,” he said. The packages are aimed at synchronizing the activities in the centers with those at home.

Autism spectrum disorder refers to a group of complex neurodevelopment disorders characterized by repetitive and characteristic patterns of behavior and difficulties with social communication and interaction. The symptoms are present from early childhood and affect daily functioning.

Diagnosis of ASD includes assessment of intellectual disability and language impairment. But it is often diagnosed when it is too late for intervention, imposing a great burden on the society.

Nahvinejad urged families with young children to undertake the standard screening procedure so that if there is a problem it can be identified early.

Currently, around 3,000 autistic children are covered by the SWO and the numbers  are  expected to rise with the comprehensive programs.


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