Autism disorders, treatment options to be discussed

Local healthcare providers will offer a case conference on the wide-ranging and debilitating effects of Autism Spectrum Disorders from 5.30 to 8pm on Thursday at St. Matthew’s University in Grand Cayman as part of the ongoing observance of Mental Health Week, which ends Saturday.

Doctors Loraine Barnaby, Arline McGill and Marc Lockhart, as well as occupational therapist Kenneth Figueira, are also scheduled to present an overview of the Psychiatry and Behavioural Disorders Services unit at the Cayman Islands Health 
Services Authority.

Special guests include Dr. Linden Swan, a paediatrician with the Health Services Authority; Faith Gealey-Brown, a speech therapist with the HSA; and Shannon Seymour and Sloane Pharr, both from the Wellness Centre.

The presentation is set to be held at the medical school at St. Matthew’s University, located in the Regatta Office Park, Leeward 3 Building in 
Governor’s Square.

The event offers 2.5 continuing education credits. Light refreshments will be provided.

Autism is a term that conjures up alarm in the minds of many.

It is now recognised that there is a spectrum of disorders, Autism Spectrum Disorders, ranging from mild to severe, which have some or all of the features of classical autism. These features and symptoms include difficulties with language, speech, repetitive thoughts and behaviours, or restrictive behaviours with diminished social interaction.

Autism Spectrum Disorders includes classic autism, which has also been termed Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Asperger’s Syndrome, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, Rett’s Syndrome and Pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified.

Typically, the signs begin before age 3. If the condition is not recognised and managed properly, then the adult will probably be socially incompetent and have difficulty showing appropriate behaviour, as well as being a financial burden to their relatives 
or the government.

Those afflicted with these illnesses have treatment options in Cayman. There are several paediatricians in the public and private sector in the Cayman Islands prepared to diagnose and offer assistance to patients and caregivers.

Along with medical treatment, educational interventions at an early age offer hope for positive outcomes.

Also, the Special Needs Foundation of Cayman, started in 2008, has as its mission education and advocacy in respect of children with special needs and their families.

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