The data represents preliminary findings, based on a mid-term report submitted to the funding agency.
ASD is a clinically defined behavioral syndrome that manifests in early childhood. The core symptoms of ASD include abnormal or unreciprocated interpersonal and emotional interactions, disordered language and communication, and repetitive and stereotypic behavior. It is a condition affecting populations worldwide. The global burden of autism is currently unknown. Most of the studies conducted since the year 2000 in different geographical regions of the world show an estimate prevalence rate of 17/10,000 for autistic disorder and 62/10,000 for all pervasive developmental disorders.
The findings from this study show that six out of the 10 (60%) autistic cases belong to the “lower middle class” on SES. The fact that socioeconomic status is one of the fundamental indicators of ASD is corroborated by our findings. There is a strong and consistent correlation between socioeconomic conditions and mental illness. There is also evidence that the association of SES and health occurs at every level of the socioeconomic hierarchy. Low parental SES is associated with an increased prevalence of autistic traits among children screened 36 months after birth according to a Norwegian mother and child cohort study. Risk factors such as home delivery and birth asphyxia were also reported in many of the subjects on evaluation. It has been documented also that obstetric conditions, along with prenatal and perinatal conditions, are associated with an increased risk for autism and ASDs. Parents/caregivers also gave a history of delay in developmental milestones, specifically motor and speech. Children with autism have been documented in many studies to have lagged in gross motor and language development during the initial months of life.
Two diagnosed cases (females) in the rural area also had comorbidity in the form of seizures. An association between epilepsy, mental retardation, and autism has been reported in many studies.
Research in autism in India has been largely restricted to hospital settings or in selective settings of autistic children and an extensive PubMed search has yielded no results on the prevalence of autism in India.[28,29,30,31] One study from Chandigarh, India reflects on the application of ISAA in the child guidance clinic. We found ISAA easy to administer. In spite of finding some difficulty in scoring the items grouped under the emotional responsiveness category, the authors conclude that the scale is useful and feasible for use in routine clinical settings. The use of the scale would pave the way for addressing the longstanding concerns about the identification and quantification of autism and to rate the associated disability in the Indian population.