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Tamil Nadu: CM’s insurance scheme to cover autism therapy

CHENNAI: The Chief Minister’s Health Insurance Scheme will now cover multiple therapies for autism spectrum disorder, a developmental disability.

State Health Secretary J. Radhakrishnan said so far, autism had not been covered under most schemes.

“Now, the State government is providing an avenue for families who are covered to access the therapies needed for autism up to ₹1 lakh a year,” he said.

The project is being piloted at the Institute of Child Health, Egmore (ICH).

 Shanthi Nambi, director, Institute of Mental Health and former head of child psychiatry at ICH, said the insurance would cover the entire therapy programme for autism — including speech, occupational and behavioural therapy, as well as any psychiatric treatment if necessary. “Parents can also use the insurance money for the payment of special school fees for their children,” she said. A certain sum will be handed over to the parents every month, and this can be used to pay the therapist, as well as other expenditure, she said.

Intensive therapy

Dr. Radhakrishnan said one out of 55 to 70 children are believed to be on the autism spectrum, and of these, around 1,00,000 children need intensive therapy. “While the initially approved centre is ICH, we will gradually expand it to other centres, both private and government,” he said.

This is part of the health department’s plans to broaden the scope of the CMCHIS and cover more conditions, he added.

The initiative was launched at an event at ICH on Monday, where State Health Minister C. Vijayabaskar and others participated.

Source: thehindu.com

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