Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Friday gave in-principle approval to set up a state-of-the-art advanced research and treatment centre for the patients suffering from autism in SAS Nagar.
A decision was taken in this regard during a meeting with medical experts, doctors and organisers of the NGOs dealing with such patients, at his official residence here on Friday.
The Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) will find a suitable chunk of land for the centre, which will house an institute for running a diploma course for educators, besides providing research and healthcare facilities. The CM said more satellite centres will be set up at all district HQs affiliated to this centre and asked the health department to sensitise their disability medical boards to issue disability certificate to autistic persons, who are facing hardships due to scant knowledge about it.
Badal also directed the health department to take up the issue with the education department for giving admission to kids suffering from autism in normal schools as this will inculcate a sense of equality and save them from the scourge of discrimination. At present, majority of such kids are studying in special schools meant for autistic patients.
The CM has asked Professor and head of the department of psychiatry, PGI, Dr Ajit Awasthi to prepare a detailed blueprint within a month for setting up of an advanced centre, besides suggesting ways and means to establish special wings on autism in all government medical colleges in Patiala, Amritsar and Faridkot with trained manpower, comprising child psychologists, occupational therapists, clinical psychologists and special educators/motivators.