Expert on Monday stressed for increasing parents’ awareness and tolerance in society to address autism as early-age behavioral therapy programs could help children with this condition to live a normal life. Renowned neurologist/psychiatrist, Jawahar Shahid Anwar while talking to the PTV news channel explained that many autistic individuals remain undiagnosed, especially in rural areas, where surveillance was rarely done for any neuro-developmental disorder. “Families often have limited access to evaluations and other resources to assess and respond to autism or other neuro-developmental conditions,” she added. Dr Anwar said many families were not seeking out assessment or treatment due to limited awareness about autism, social and cultural stigma related to neuro-developmental conditions, and financial barriers. Behavioural therapies and support for autistic children could help children learn new behaviours and skills, she said, adding, parents should skip sugary food items in the diet of the child with autism. Replying to a question, she said the diagnosis and therapy of autism in Pakistan occur in various settings and were provided by various health professionals. She regretted that unfortunately, awareness concerning autism was still low among Pakistani healthcare professionals, adding, society needs to know everything about autism first. To another question, she said autism was a complex group of neuro-developmental disorders, also referred to as autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Children with autism faced discrimination that comes from a lack of understanding about the condition, she said, adding, most parents think that their autistic child was simply “a bit slow”, therefore, more screenings were needed so that children with autism could be helped at the early stage. More child screening and assessment centres were needed to make early diagnoses of developmental impairments such as autism, she demanded.