Communication is a continuous process and language is its most basic tool. Human language is known as improper means of communication despite of its importance for sharing needs, thoughts and feelings. Because man’s need for communication is not only dependent upon use of language but also the use of non-verbal communication including body language to make the communication process more understandable and powerful. The basic form of communication is by signs and sounds.
Autism is a developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and non-verbal communication and social interaction generally evidenced before age 3. Autistic children are not usually treated as "abnormal humans" despite of the fact they think, communicate and react quite different from "normal humans".
Problems with language and communication are one of the defining characteristics of autism and present in all autistic children in comparison with the verbal or non-verbal child. The autistic children in Pakistan are facing the same difficulties in their education due to limited communication abilities. It is estimated that 350,000 children in Pakistan suffer from autism and this number is increasing day by day.
Pakistan is not an easy country for training and even survival of special children. A large part of the country, mostly below poverty line, the few that do know about autism and related disorders, are either the parents, teachers, doctors of children with severe and late diagnosis who eventually search the Internet or ask other people describing the symptoms. The lack of awareness in the country causes confusion.
Disability is a taboo subject here. People don’t talk about it due to social pressures and hide their child from society or get admitted him to school hostel to avoid feeling ashamed. People here have only one word in the local languages for person who is not mentally sound or of normal behavior, pagal, that literally means mad. Since there was no documentation or explanation of things like epilepsy, schizophrenia, aspergers in poetry, literature, academia therefore, denial of existence of autistism condition exists here in Pakistan.
The communication concerns which have been found significant for early diagnosis:
Does not respond to name
Cannot tell what (s) he wants
Language is delayed
Cannot follow directions
Appears deaf at times: seems to hear some times but not others
Does not point, or wave bye-bye
Used to say a few words but no longer does so
Pakistani media are playing a significant role in creating awareness among people regarding autism but still awareness about this disorder is required on larger scale. Also strong and satisfactory communication strategies are required in autism schools of our country.
University Of Management And Technology Umt Lahore
Punjab University PU Lahore
Punjab University College Of Information Technology Lahore
Allama Iqbal Open University (Aiou) Islamabad