Training in 'Autism Diagnosis & Intervention'
2014 ended on a wonderful note for IRODA’s work in Tajikistan. In collaboration with the Ministry of Health, and with support of the World Health Organization, UNICEF and the Open Society Foundation IRODA hosted a week of training on ‘Autism Diagnosis and Intervention’. This was the first opportunity IRODA has had to train doctors within the government health system on the diagnosis of autism. It was also the first time that people working in the disability sector came from around the country to receive training in practical skills for working with children with autism.
A training team made up of four professionals from Australia and Bangladesh trained 27 doctors to effectively diagnose autism, and equipped 21 professionals from both the government and non-government sector to work effectively with children with autism and their families. IRODA is very pleased with the opportunities that this has opened up for the progression of its work. In the past children with autism have frequently been mis-diagnosed and without access to therapy or support. As a result of the training there are now a group of doctors from around the country who have the skills and resources to appropriately diagnose autism, and the Ministry of Health is committed to improving systems and processes that will allow them to do so more efficiently.
Prior to IRODA’s work in Tajikistan children with autism were generally admitted to hospital for a 7-day period and given medication (usually inappropriately) as a means of the doctors determining their diagnosis. One doctor who participated in training week initially challenged the trainers as to how it was possible to diagnose a child without hospitalizing and medicating them. This same doctor later in the week acknowledged that it not necessary or helpful to hospitalize a child for diagnosis, and suggested that the doctors consider taking off their white coats when they were interacting with the children through the play based diagnostic assessment.
Along with the wonderful benefits of these 48 professionals gaining new skills and knowledge IRODA was really pleased to see changes in attitudes of the training participants. We look forward the impact that this will have on the lives of children with autism and their families in Tajikistan. Thank you for partnering with us in the past, and we hope you will continue to work with us during 2015 as we support the growing number of children with autism that we have contact with.