Tamil Nadu government's free autism therapy scheme has few takers for lack of awareness

Eight months after the Tamil Nadu government brought the multi-modal therapy for autism under the Chief Minister’s Comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme (CMCHIS), only 31 beneficiaries have been covered. A little less than Rs 2,50,00 has been disbursed so far.

Just 31 beneficiaries covered in 8 months

Nearly one in 100 to 150 children are estimated to be on the autism spectrum, and therapies are often expensive. The scheme was started in May 2017 in Egmore and covers multi-modal therapy for autism spectrum disorder for up to Rs one lakh per year per individual.

This includes speech, occupational, behavioural and educational therapy as well as anything else that was needed. As of now, 16 private centres across Tamil Nadu have been empanelled under the scheme. This means CMCHIS card-holders can get the therapy free of charge at these centres.

Experts say that more awareness on the Chief Minister’s health insurance scheme was needed.

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