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Autism Treatment in India( Best Autism Centers, Doctors and Costs)

The latest studies show that up to one in a hundred children are diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in India. This number has seen a sharp increase over the past few decades, probably due to better awareness. This wasn’t always the case. The first time Indians began paying attention to autism was in the early 1980s. Unfortunately, back then, it was commonly confused with types of mental retardation, leading to frequent misdiagnosis. As the 1990s rolled in, more information began to be available, and several organizations were set up in multiple cities of India to help parents take care of their autistic kids. Over the past decade, India has made rapid progress in the treatment of ASDs. More funding is also available now for research, leading to the availability of even better treatment modules. In fact, just last year, a Bengaluru scientist made a breakthrough discovery of a compound called 6BIO, which shows immense potential in enhancing the treatment of ASDs.

By Shalini Jadhvani

Updated on 25th, May'22

What is Autism?

Autism Spectrum Disorders or ASDs are lifelong neurobiological conditions, that usually manifest in the first three years of a child’s life. These children show differences in three main areas of development:

  • Communication: The child may present as verbal or non-verbal
  • Social interaction: The child may not make eye contact or respond to their name being called
  • Imagination: Very often, a repetitive pattern of play is noticed during leisure activities

Since autism is a spectrum disorder, each child presents differently. Observed symptoms can range from mild learning and social disabilities to more complex and multiple difficulties. Several instances of unusual behavior and varying levels of sensory difficulties are seen as well.

It is important to note that the required developmental skills are present in such children, but they do not present in an age-appropriate manner. Another peculiarity often seen is uneven skill development. For example, a three-year-old child may show the gross motor skills of a seven-year-old, the fine motor skills of a five-year-old, and the self-help skills of a two-year-old.

Unfortunately, there is no ‘cure’ for autism. However, with early intervention, it is possible to treat autism and help the children become functioning members of society, drastically improving their and their family’s quality of life.

 

Autism Treatment Centers and Hospitals in India

Over these past two decades, there has been a burst of progress in the treatment of autism in India, leading to the presence of several world-class centers and hospitals dedicated to providing care to such individuals. These centers and hospitals provide top-notch facilities in a nurturing environment, giving autistic children the best chance to adjust to regular life.

Below is a list of some of the best hospitals and centers:

Mumbai

  • NeuroGen Brain and Spine Institute

The mission of this institute is to provide stem cell therapy for individuals with incurable neurological disorders.

  • Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital

The hospital has a world-class center available for the treatment of autism. They provide a combination of early intervention practices and therapies tailor-made for each autistic child.

They have a complete team of experts, including clinical psychologists, and pediatric speech and occupational therapists. 

  • Stem RX in Thane, Navi Mumbai

Established in 2011, they believe that by harnessing the regenerating power of stem cells, one can lead a long, good-quality life. 

Pune

  • Universal Hospital

Universal Hospital is one of the best hospitals in Pune for stem cell treatment for autism. Its mission is to promote wellness, relieve suffering and restore health as quickly and safely as possible.

 

 

Best Doctors for Autism in India

Mumbai

  • Dr. Pradeep Mahajan

He is the founder of Stem RX in Thane, Navi Mumbai. He has been featured in Forbes India for his work in stem cell research in the field of autism.

  • Dr. Alok Sharma

 

He is an award-winning, internationally recognized neurosurgeon and a part of the NeuroGen Brain and Spine Institute. He is a ray of hope for individuals with neurological disorders. He usually has a long waiting list of patients, thanks to the trust he has built over the past several years.

Pune

  • Dr. Anant Bagul

He is the CEO of Universal Hospital. With over thirty years of experience, he is a pioneer in the field of stem cell research and treatment, especially for stem cell therapy in autism. He has treated over 2000 patients with a good success rate. Patients from all over India and the world come to his hospital to receive treatment.

 

Also, know the best autism doctors in Delhi, Bangalore , Hyderabad and other major cities.

 

Autism Treatments in India

Stem Cell Treatment- Best Autism Treatment in India

 

 

Stem cell treatment is gaining traction as a treatment protocol with a good success rate over the past several years.

So, what are stem cells? Stems cells are those cells that form all the tissues in the human body. They have the ability to rapidly multiply and transform into any type of tissue in the body.

Studies show that neurons, or brain cells, are more tightly packed in the affected part of the brain of an autistic individual as compared to a neurotypical individual. This results in reduced blood flow to those parts of the brain, causing damage to the tissue, and leading them to function poorly.

Stem cells have three functions that are beneficial in such cases:

  • They induce the release of growth factors in the body, which help heal and regenerate the damaged tissue.
  • The growth factors encourage the formation of new blood vessels, which improves the blood flow to the injured brain tissue and aids in the repair process.
  • The new cells formed are exact copies of the required healthy cells, which eventually replace the non-functioning cells.

How can stem cell therapy be used to treat autism in India?

Stem cell therapy is a comparatively simple procedure to perform and is divided into the following steps:

  • The first step is to extract the stem cells. The stem cells are usually extracted from the patient themselves. Adult stem cells are required for this procedure, which are found in the bone marrow of the hip bone. After administering local anesthesia to keep the patient comfortable, the stem cells are extracted from this site.
  • In the next phase, the extracted bone marrow is transported to the stem cell laboratory to purify the adult stem cells from the bone marrow. This is done by a process called the density gradient technique.
  • Once the adult stem cells are obtained, they are injected into the lumbar region, more specifically into the L4-5 space, of the spine, and inserted into the cerebrospinal fluid. About fifty million stem cells are injected in one cycle of this treatment.

Benefits of Stem Cell Treatment for Autism

 

Stem cell therapy provides several benefits for autistic children, and is one of the best newer treatments available for them. For one, it is a completely risk-free treatment option. Although it hasn’t been approved by the FDA yet, it is a very safe treatment. It has been around for decades, and no adverse effects or neurological deterioration has ever been recorded.

Besides this, the stem cells also adapt quite quickly to the nervous system. They start their job of producing growth factors and forming new blood vessels almost instantly.

Since this is a non-invasive procedure, it is easier to conduct, unlike surgery. This helps keep the patient comfortable and recovery time is minimum.

 

What is the success rate of stem cell therapy for autism in India? 

This procedure has a very high success rate. Clinical improvement has been observed in 91% of patients. There is a visible decrease in aggressive behavior and hyperactivity. Increased eye contact, better attention span, improved communication, and improved social skills have also been observed. Changes in brain activity have also been reflected on CT scans.

 

Cost of Stem Cell Therapy for Autism in India

 

Stem cell treatment for autism costs about five lakh INR (6700 USD) to ten lakh INR (13400 USD), with each cycle costing about two thousand USD.

Of course, the final cost will depend on a variety of factors like medical history. If the patient has some compelling genetic factors, the cost may rise.

It also depends on the severity of the disease, which will determine how many cycles are required. The treatment city and hospital also have a significant impact on the final cost. 

 

 

ABA Therapy for Autism Treatment in India

ABA therapy or Applied Behavior Analysis is considered the gold standard for autism treatment. It is a specific form of behavior modification that relies on the use of reinforcement techniques to teach skills. It is defined as, “The process of systematically applying interventions based upon the principles of learning theory.”

ABA therapy programs can help in the following areas:

  • Improves language and communication skills
  • Increases attention span, focus, social skills, and memory
  • Shows a significant decrease in negative behaviors and increased independence is observed.

 

ABA therapy mainly uses five techniques to achieve desired treatment goals. They are:

 

  • Positive reinforcement
  • Negative reinforcement—this is mainly used to help the child understand the concept of action and consequence.
  • Using visual and verbal cues
  • Task analysis—the therapist gives the child a task and observes how they perform it to understand the child’s current behavior pattern.
  • Generalization—in this technique, the therapist uses what the child has already learned and applies it in a new instance.

ABA therapy has been credited with improving the overall quality of life for the child and their family.

 

Cost of ABA Therapy in India

Although it is very difficult to determine an exact figure of the cost of ABA therapy, due to visits to multiple experts, reports have shown that treatment and special therapies or education can cost about two to four lakh INR per year

Just one session of speech therapy can cost up to 500 INR, which brings the monthly expenditure of speech and vocational therapy to twenty-five to thirty thousand INR.

 

Other Treatments for Autism

With the upward trajectory of autism cases, people have started turning to alternative medicine and therapies to treat autism as well. Alternative medicine like Homeopathy and Ayurveda are popular among the masses for this purpose. We will examine a few of them to see if they are truly helpful.

Homeopathy treatment for Autism in India

Some homeopathic practitioners claim that the medicine works in reducing various symptoms of autism like aggression, stubbornness, compulsion, mood swings, and sleep-related issues.

However, there is no scientific evidence to prove this. Since homeopathic medicine has no side effects, most doctors suggest that there is no harm in trying it, as long as it is done on the advice of your doctor. It should always be done in conjunction with traditional treatments like ABA therapy and cannot be used as a replacement for them.

Ayurvedic treatment for Autism in India

Ayurveda believes in treating the root cause of all diseases. According to Ayurvedic medicine, ASDs are classified as behavioral abnormalities, a neuropsychological system defect, and a disorder of the digestive and metabolic systems. 

Treatment of autism is undertaken based on these principles. However, there is no evidence that this treatment works.

Oral FMT

Oral FMT is also known as Fecal Microbiota Transplant. FMT has been an upcoming treatment modality for several digestive ailments. One study conducted in 2017 on autistic patients showed significant improvement in symptoms like constipation, diarrhea, indigestion, and abdominal pain. Effects of the treatment also persisted for eight weeks and the patients showed improvement in behavioral symptoms.

However, this study is still under investigation by FDA, and the treatment is not approved. Besides this, FMT is an invasive treatment. It is also important to note that an unhealthy gut does not cause ASDs.

Biomedical Treatment for Autism in India

Biomedical treatment methods are modules that target certain physiological functions to treat psychological disorders in individuals with ASDs. 

The rationale for this therapy is that most autistic individuals also display disturbances in physiological functions. This manifests as gastrointestinal disturbances, sleep disturbances, and a variety of other symptoms. Most of these issues can be traced to dysfunction in the metabolic processes of the body.

Biomedical treatment focuses on correcting these metabolic disturbances with the help of non-prescription medication rather than prescription drugs. It makes use of therapies such as high-dose vitamins, special diets, probiotics, and hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

Although there isn’t much evidence of this treatment successfully managing ASDs, when used in combination with traditional ABA therapies, it has shown improvement of symptoms in selected individuals.

 

Occupational therapy in India

Occupational therapy focuses on improving the lives of people with autism. The patient's intellectual, social, and motor abilities may improve because of occupational therapy. One just needs to apply it in their daily life.

 

The following are the steps of designing occupational therapy.

  • The therapist will check the patient's condition and then identify their goals.
  • The therapist will form a treatment plan and install it into the patient's routine.
  • The therapist will assess the patient and whether they have achieved their goals.
  • The therapist may adjust the plan according to the patient's needs.

The benefit of this therapy is the least risk of overwhelming the patient with the treatment. 

 

Physiotherapy in India

  • Patients with autism suffer from improper posture, physical strength, and motor skills. Due to this, they face difficulties in their everyday lives. Physiotherapy can help them gain physical strength, proper posture and motor skills, and other physical aspects that will lead them to live a better life.
  • Exercise, games and yoga are the tools for physiotherapy for the patients. The treatment plans are according to the goals and needs of the patient.
  • Physiotherapy may also help with communication skills. If we treat the patient's jaw and tongue, the speech may improve, which will help develop the patient's social skills.

 

Apart from this, various other therapies like art therapies, music therapies, and yoga are also touted as treatments for autism. There is no proof that they work. At the most, they can be used in conjunction with traditional therapies to provide a creative outlet to the child.

 

Cost of Autism Treatment in India

It is very difficult to determine the cost of treatment for an autistic patient in absolute numbers, as various therapists form the team that treats the child. We can arrive at a rough estimate to get a better idea of the economic burden families of autistic patients bear.

Therapy is certainly cheaper in tier-two cities as compared to tier-one cities. Below is a comparison of costs incurred in the top five cities of India for autism care. This expenditure involves traditional therapies like ABA therapy in the initial six years of treatment after diagnosis. 

 

City

Cost of Treatment

1. Mumbai 5-6 lakh INR P.A.
2. Bangalore 5.5-6.5 lakh INR P.A.
3. Hyderabad 3-4 lakh INR P.A.
4. Delhi 4-5 lakh INR P.A.
5. Kochi 2.5-3.5 lakh INR P.A.

 

 

Autism Treatment Cost Around the World

India has one of the lowest costs of autism treatment in the world. While the above table may give you the impression that autism treatment is expensive, it can be up to one-tenth the cost of treatment in a western nation. And this is possible while providing the same excellent facilities seen in any developed nation.

The table below will give a better idea of the disparity between nations when it comes to the treatment of autism. Once again, this includes the cost of traditional therapies like ABA therapy in the initial five to six years after diagnosis.

 

Country

Cost per Year in USD

1. India4000-8000
2. USA17,000-60,000
3. Canada26,000-80,000
4. New Zealand20,000-25,000
5. Australia20,000-35,000

 

Of course, some of the payments are taken care of by insurance companies in these countries. The government also provides a certain amount of assistance to the families of autistic children. However, neither of these payment methods covers all the costs, and the guardians end up paying a significant amount out of pocket as well.

 

Autism Cases Cured in India

By now, we well know that autism cannot be cured. The best we can hope for is for the autistic individual to become a productive member of society who is able to lead an independent life.

Usually, if the child’s treatment is begun at an early age, the prognosis is generally good. In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the number of autistic children attending regular schools and thriving. Unfortunately, this is only in selected cases.

Most autistic persons continue to have some degree of difficulty in communication and socializing. 

With the rise in awareness, the government of India has also stepped up its efforts toward these goals. By providing subsidized services, and introducing autism-friendly legislation and policies, there is better access to early intervention therapies.

As a testament to this, we now hear about several success stories of autistic individuals going on to make a name for themselves in their chosen fields.

One shining example of this is Pranav Bakshi, a nineteen-year-old model who has walked the ramp for some big labels. His social media bio notes that he identifies as having 40% disability, yet he calls autism his “superpower.”

Another success story is Prem Sankar, a twenty-five-year-old man who builds websites for a living. He was non-verbal and diagnosed at the age of five, which is considered quite late to have a good prognosis. After years of therapy, he has greatly reduced his negative behaviors like aggression and hand flapping. He is now able to support himself financially, even though he needs the help of a caregiver for his daily needs.

This shows that the treatment in India for autism is top-notch and greatly beneficial, if the child is diagnosed at the right age, while also being a little more conducive to one’s pocket.

 

 

 

 

 

Question and Answers (20)

When will stem cell teeth be available in India?

Asked anonymously on 9th May, 2022 at 5:38 pm

It is still under research 

Dr. Pradeep Mahajan's profile picture
Dr. Pradeep Mahajan

Are there any phytoscience double stem cell side effect?

Asked anonymously on 9th May, 2022 at 5:36 pm

Phytoscience stem cell is commercial product. We can't tell it's side effect as we work on biological stem cells we don't promote any commercial stem cell product.

Dr. Pradeep Mahajan's profile picture
Dr. Pradeep Mahajan

Hi, I am a parent of a child with autism. We are interested in stem cell therapy for autism. Could you please send me a list of the hospitals in India that treat autism with stem cells therapy? Looking forward to hearing from you soon. Regards Babu Pandey baburam78@yahoo.com

Asked anonymously on 1st May, 2022 at 8:58 am

We have good result in autism cases. Kindly share report and video of patient. Also try to schedule call.

Dr. Pradeep Mahajan's profile picture
Dr. Pradeep Mahajan

My daughter is 15 she is suffering with itilectval disablity.is it possible to treat her with stem cell therapy.how much cost it will be please reply as soon as possible

Asked anonymously on 20th April, 2022 at 5:47 pm

Yes it is possible. We have good results in development delayed cases. Without seeing reports we can't disclose treatment cost. Kindly ask for reports and schedule call. 

Dr. Pradeep Mahajan's profile picture
Dr. Pradeep Mahajan

Hello, My elder son is suffering from Leukemia, age 10 and we were thinking of stem cell therapy treatment. So I wanted to know is there a age limit to opt for stem cell therapy? Another question can we store Stem cell of my younger son, age 5? If yes then what is the procedure

Asked anonymously on 31st January, 2022 at 12:37 pm

stem cell therapy can be done at any age from children to elders. please share the reports of your baby related to leukaemia .Umbillical cord stem cells can be have to be stored during birth .

Dr. Pradeep Mahajan's profile picture
Dr. Pradeep Mahajan
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