Parent-mediated intervention for Autism Spectrum Disorders in South Asia Plus (PASS PLUS)


Funder: Grand Challanges, Canada

Duration: October 2014 – September 2016

Principal investigator: Dr Gauri Divan

Co-principal Investigator: Vivek Vajratkar

Project coordinator: Paciencia Rodrigues e Cardozo

Site Coordinator: Leena Gaikwad

Researcher: Ruplai Khambar,Sudnyanee Chougule,
Urmila & Prabakar

Project Secretary: Nikhil Yadav

Clinical Consultant: Dr. Shilpa Huzurbazar

PASS PLUS is a continuation of Sangath’s work in Autism, especially the PASS project which culturally adapted the PACT (Preschool Autism Communication Therapy) intervention for delivery by non-specialist health worker and established its acceptability and feasibility in Indian context. The core focus of this intervention was communication.

To develop and evaluate a population based strategy for the early identification of children affected by ASD and estimate the coverage of
1. Interventions
2. To develop and evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of a lay health worker delivered comprehensive intervention which addresses a wide range of unmet needs of families affected by ASD, by incorporating additional modules (for e.g. behaviour management, sleep management) to complement the core communication focused intervention (PASS)

Through the ARTI (Autism Research  and  Training  Initiative  in  India;  2009-2012) project Sangath observed that children with Autism were identified late resulting in missed opportunity  for early  intervention and  increasing  the likelihood of secondary impairments. It was also observed that there was limited access to evidence based interventions, in large part due to the shortage of and the inequitable distribution of skilled specialists to deliver these interventions. Most services are concentrated in cities and are delivered by highly trained professionals in private clinics. This results in low follow up rates even for those families who can access services, leading to a very large treatment gap.
The ARTI project led to PASS project which adapted the PACT intervention to be delivered by non-specialist health workers. Besides establishing the feasibility and acceptability of the PASS intervention the project. It also identified that families were also concerned about other difficulties such as behaviour, sleep and toileting problems associated with Autism. The PASS PLUS project will address these problems through an expanded PASS package.
This project has been funded by Grand Challenges Canada and implemented in Kolhapur district of Maharashtra in collaboration with Sanwaad Clinic.