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Bangladesh: Schizophrenia and autism treatment, services, and societal attitudes

Availability, access and barriers

  • “The survey reveals that among children with disabilities (aged 5-17 years), only 65 per cent are enrolled in primary school and only 35 per cent are enrolled in secondary school. In total, 60 per cent of children with disabilities aged 5-17 years are not in education. The survey also found that children with disabilities who do attend formal education lag behind academically by over two years for their age on average.

UNICEF, “UNICEF concerned that more than half of children with disabilities in Bangladesh do not go to school: New national data reveals that the majority of children with disabilities are not enrolled in any formal education”, 24 January 2023, last accessed: 24 February 2023


  • “The percentage of male teachers in autism schools in Bangladesh is significantly low, which resulted in a similar disparity among our participants. However, there is a high demand for male teachers as female teachers lack the physical strength to manage relatively older, restless kids. For little children, any mother figure is the best caregiver. […]

Currently, there is a scarcity of training resources for educators and many schools address this inadequacy by creating their own training programs. However, teaching children with autism introduces unique challenges that require special training, empathy, and skills that may be difficult to acquire from these makeshift training programs. […]

Mainstream schools in Bangladesh do not have educational or training programs for children with autism. Research signifies the benefit of an inclusive classroom environment, which is reflected by programs such as AIM (Access and Inclusion Model) utilized in the US among other developed countries.  Educators in Bangladesh also commented on the potential benefit of such inclusive programs where children with autism will have access to the same opportunities as neurotypical students and have an opportunity to learn firsthand from their peers. This segregation may contribute to the limited awareness of autism in Bangladesh.”

Hridi et al. “Understanding the Educational Landscape of Children with Autism in Bangladesh” in A. Sundqvist et al. (Eds.): iConference 2020, LNCS 12051, pp. 1–15, 2020, last accessed: 24 February 2023


  • “In mainstream schools, the administration is often either unwilling to admit PWA even when they had empty seats, or charge more than regular school fees despite doctors’ suggestions. […]

Our participants also argued that teachers in regular schools were not adequately trained in handling PWA or responding to an unexpected situation involving them. They opined so based on their experience, as some of them had their children with autism admitted into regular schools for certain period of time. Besides, participants shared similar concerns with teachers in special needs schools. We noted in our interviews that these teachers were often negligent and frequently did not perform their duties adequately. Participants shared how this was due to a lack of proper accountability and, in the case of government schools, teachers holding quasi-permanent positions at the schools.”

Khanom, S. & Aktar T., “ICTD2020: Proceedings of the 2020 International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies and Development”, September 2022, last accessed: 23 February 2023