An innovative approach allows families with autism in India or Pakistan to practice communication strategies at home.
Spectrum: Autism Research News
Gauri Divan is director of the child development group at Sangath, a nonprofit organization in Goa, India. As a pediatrician, Divan works in the areas of early child development, developmental disabilities and adolescent health. Sangath aims to develop and evaluate innovative packages of care that can be delivered through non-specialist health workers. One of these packages is the Parent-mediated intervention for Autism Spectrum Disorders in South Asia (PASS), which uses video feedback with parents so that they can mediate changes in their autistic child’s communication environment. This intervention was showcased at the World Innovation Summit for Health 2016 in Qatar. Another intervention, ‘SPRING Kilkaari,’ uses cognitive behavior therapy principles to help families adopt key nutrition and child stimulation practices to address the critical needs of children in the first 1,000 days of life. Divan and her colleagues at Sangath have been working on developing digital tools to assess biomarkers of atypical neurodevelopment. Divan has been in the technical resource group of the Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram, an Indian government initiative aimed at early identification and early intervention. She has also been a member of the World Health Organization’s technical consultative group for autism and developmental disorders.