Screening and services for autism among children in China
In 2016, the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder in China among children aged 6–12 years was approximately 0·7% (an estimated 1·73 million children), highlighting the need for suitable policies and special social and health-care services. There is no effective drug treatment for autism; multiple guidelines suggest young children with autism receive intensive non-pharmacological interventions. On Sept 20, 2022, the National Health Commission in China launched the specification for the Autism Spectrum Disorder Screening and Intervention Service for children aged 0–6 years, which was the start of standardised early intervention for autism nationwide in China. This service is part of the Healthy China 2030 project. The Autism Spectrum Disorder Screening and Intervention Service aims to improve the knowledge of parents about autism; to standardise screening of children for autism using the early warning signs screening scale for psychobehavioural development problems; and to provide diagnosis, intervention, and rehabilitation services to reduce the effects of autism on the individual, their family, and society. The Autism Spectrum Disorder Screening and Intervention Service emphasises the establishment and improvement of the service model of town-level preliminary screening of children for autism spectrum disorder, county-level re-screening for autism spectrum disorder, and diagnosis and rehabilitation in professional medical institutions. Parents are provided with educational materials, training, and clinical support. They are encouraged to participate actively in intervention and rehabilitation. Family-based interventions include interaction, life care, and play while parenting to encourage rehabilitation of children.
1) Liu J, Yang F, Liu M. Screening and services for autism among children in China. Lancet Psychiatry. 2022 Dec;9(12):e53. doi: 10.1016/S2215-0366(22)00366-2.
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