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UN chief calls for greater awareness of autism

04-02-2011 10:48 BJT

UNITED NATIONS, April 1 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon on Friday called for greater public awareness of autism, in order to fight the stigma and discrimination facing those who suffer from the disorder.

Annual World Autism Awareness Day, observed globally on April 2.

The statement came in a message to mark the annual World Autism Awareness Day, observed globally on April 2.

"Children and persons with autistic conditions face major challenges associated with stigma and discrimination, as well as a lack of access to support," said Ban.

"Far too many suffer terrible discrimination, abuse and isolation, in violation of their fundamental human rights," he added.

Autism is a disorder that affects the brain's development of social and communication skills, and generally appears in the first three years of life.

"The number of children and people with autistic conditions continues to rise -- in every nation and in every racial, ethnic and social group," the secretary-general said.

Ban said it is critical to support parents of children with the disorder and "create jobs for individuals with autism based on their skills and strengths, and improve public education to better meet the needs of students with autism."

About Autism

What is autism?

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a range of complex neurodevelopment disorders, characterized by social impairments, communication difficulties, and restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior. More>>



What are some symptoms of autism?

The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) lists five behaviors that signal further evaluation is warranted:

1. Does not babble or coo by 12 months

2. Does not gesture (point, wave, grasp) by 12 months More>>

Current situation of autistic children in China

Total number: about 1,500,000 autistic people in China; 500,000 of them are children

Hardships of autism education:

Most autistic people are not able to attend a normal school where they inevitably fall behind.

"Some parents send their nine or 10 year-old children to preschool and expect them to develop social skills that would eventually help them find good jobs, but this is absolutely impossible," said Zhao Wali, who's been teaching autistic children in Anhua School since 1992. More>>

China's autistic children need more state support:

Under the current welfare system, Chinese parents have to rely on their children to take care of them when they become older. But parents and grandparents of autistic children may, instead, find themselves trying to support their autistic child in their old age, He said. More>>

Most autistic people are not able to attend a normal school where they inevitably fall


Movies about autism:

Posters of Rain Man and Ocean Heaven

Editor:Yang Jie |Source: Xinhua

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