NEW DELHI: Almost one in eight Indian children between the ages of 2 to 9 years, may have at least one neurodevelopmental disorder (NDD) such as epilepsy, speech and language disorders and intellectual disability, an assessment of children from across the country has found.
There are, however, few standards for the disorders and still fewer treatments available. The study, conducted by Narendra K Arora of the INCLEN Trust International, New Delhi, and 50 other colleagues, has assessed about 4,000 children, perceived as ‘normal’, at Palwal (Haryana), Kangra (Himachal Pradesh), Dhenkanal (Odisha), north Goa and Hyderabad and tested them for vision impairment, epilepsy, neuromotor impairments including cerebral palsy, hearing impairment, speech and language disorders, and intellectual disability. Older children were also tested for attention deficit hyperactivity and learning disorders.
The analysis, which found that 475 of 3,964 children had at least one NDD. Among children with such disorders, 21.7 per cent had two or more disorders. Children with autism spectrum disorder, neuromotor impairments and epilepsy most frequently had other coexisting disorders. Prevalence of NDD varied according to site, from roughly 5 per cent (Dhenkanal) to roughly 19 per cent (Palwal), with hearing impairment and intellectual disorders.