Welfare, education, medical officials tackle autism problem

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Local government, education and medical officials for the first time are looking at ways to help autistic children and their families.

At a March 14 city hall meeting, officials from the city Social Welfare and Education departments, Autistic Life Skills Center Pattaya and Somdej Phra Borom Ratchathevi Na Sriracha Hospital met to discuss treatment and education for autistic children.

Social Welfare Department Director Pannee Limcharoen (center) presides over the meeting. Social Welfare Department Director Pannee Limcharoen (center) presides over the meeting.

Described as a growing problem in the Eastern Seaboard, autism leaves kids mentally cut off from others around them and impairs conventional learning. Admitting the public sector has all but ignored these children, officials are now looking for ways to aid the development of autistic kids and help them become more self-dependent.

As a first step, Somdej Phra Borom Ratchathevi Na Sriracha Hospital officials volunteered the hospital to become a testing and medical treatment center for autism.

Education, however, may be more difficult. Currently autistic children are placed in normal classrooms beside regular students. Education Office officials said they need more time to consider the problem and a solution.

No matter what the pubic sector does, however, parents still bear the main responsibility for helping their autistic child, said Social Welfare Department Director Pannee Limcharoen.

“These children have chances of becoming better through treatment and care if parents provide immediate treatment for their children as soon as they suspect autism,” she said.