ISSN : 1997-1052 (Print)
2227-202X (Online)
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Integration of Health Care and Social Support in Specialized School for Children with Autism: A Case Study from Dhaka City
Marzia Zaman Sultana, Ms. Rubayat Kabir

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are complex cognitive and neuro-behavioral disorders that affect a person’s ability to communicate, to form relationships with others and to respond appropriately to the environment. This spectrum of disorder includes – Childhood autism, Asperger’s syndrome, Rett’s syndrome etc. Worldwide 1 in 160 children are affected with autism which begin in childhood and persists into adolescents and adulthood. Some people with ASD live independently and others have severe disabilities. Some need lifelong care and support.  This study aimed to explore the methodology of developing the children with autism and other disabilities by the specialized school and also to find out the benefits of integration of health care and social support system in the regular activities of such schools. As the children with autism are mostly associated with some diseases which need regular assessment and health care for which integration of health care and social support would provide positive impact. This was an observational study carried out from March to August 2018 in a specialized school for children with autism and other disabilities. Data were collected from passive observation, informal discussions with the school authority and participating formal workshop and discussion sessions carried out by the school. Descriptive qualitative analysis was done to get the results of the study. This school follows one teacher for one student methodology to develop the life skills and day to day activities of the children and provide regular occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, psychotherapy, vocational training, music and dance therapy, teach cycling, swimming and provide computer training. They conduct regular training session for the teachers and parents. They have developed collaboration with a nearby hospital that is committed to provide free health care support, doctor consultation, and dental care with minimum waiting time on priority basis. The school arranges regular nutritional assessment of these children with expert dietician. The school has also developed a parent teacher association to ensure the social support system for these special children. Besides the regular school activities, the integration of health care and social support is providing a positive thrust to the development of these children and improving their social acceptance.

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