Hamad Medical Corporation
Care and support for autistic children in our community was the subject of a recent symposium held by Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC).
The symposium looked into the symptoms and diagnosis of the autism spectrum disorder (ASD) as well as participants discussing case studies and the most recent international research on the subject.
The symposium was held at Hajar auditorium on 13 October, 2016 and attended by speakers from the United States and over than 150 medical and nursing teams, health care professionals and parents. The symposium was organized as part of the Second National Autism Forum held from 9 to 11 October 2016 and sponsored by the Ministry of Transport Communications.
“Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder and is characterized by impaired social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication. The symptoms of autism become apparent in the first three years where some of these symptoms can be managed and allow the affected person to live independently and others are advanced which requires continuous support throughout life,” said Dr. Madeeha Kamal, Senior Consultant Pediatrician at HMC.
Dr. Kamal said early detection and diagnosis is key to ensuring children with the condition are able to live full and active lives.
“One in 68 children around the world is affected with autism. These figures are increasing especially in male children who are four times more likely to be affected by this disorder than females. We are currently researching the incidence rates of autism in Qatar and the hereditary factors that cause this disorder. We believe in the big difference we could achieve when we highlighted the importance of administering medical and behavior treatments to get positive results and to enable the child to integrate into school and community,” said Dr. Kamal.
Dr. Kamal said symptoms often become obvious once a child starts school appear in the child upon starting school.
“Symptoms include social isolation and an inability to connect with other children,” Dr. Kamal said. “Teachers are often the first to notice these symptoms and raise the issue with parents.”
Dr. Madeeha said parents who are concerned about their child should in the first instance visit their nearest Primary Health Care Corporation center. Children between three and eight years will then be referred to Rumailah Hospital for follow-up care and assessment and those aged three to eight years are referred to Hamad General Hospital’s pediatric clinics in the Outpatients Department.
Dr. Madeeha said HMC recently held a workshop for PHCC doctors to raise awareness about diagnosing autism and hyperactivity.