Northern Sri Lanka has seen a significant rise in autism spectrum disorders in children over recent years. However, there has been a lack of autism specific services in the state sector to help these disadvantaged children.

This unmet need has been addressed by the establishment of Mathavam, a center for neurodevelopmental disorder, established in 2012 at Tinnevelly, Jaffna. Children and parents have found refuge at this center, where bespoke medical, psychological, and social support has been provided. Manitha Neyam supports the center through the provision of a speech therapist and a special needs teaching assistant to work closely with the children and their care givers.

Since its inception, the center has supported over 450 children with autism spectrum disorders which has enabled these children to progress in their abilities and help their families to manage their day-to-day lives. The relationship between Mathavam, the Jaffna Regional Directorate of Health, and Manitha Neyam offers a novel partnership model between the Public, Voluntary, and Charity sectors and should offer the prospect for similar models to be the basis for future programs of work.