Friday, April 19, 2024

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Call For Action To End Autism Stigma

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Call For Action To End Autism Stigma.As the Month of Autism Awareness draws to a close, parents and caregivers are being encouraged to form and use quality support groups in order to reduce stigma and increase the possibility of sharing knowledge and best practices for their autistic children.World Autism Awareness Month is celebrated in April each year and was established by the United Nations in 2007 to shed light on autism as a growing global health crisis.Activities that increase global awareness of autism and disseminate information about the importance of early diagnosis and intervention are typically encouraged.According to Felicity Nyambura, Founder and Director of Programs at Autism Society of Kenya (ASK), there is no known single cause of autism spectrum disorder, but early diagnosis allows individuals to receive resources that can support the choices and opportunities needed to live a well-rounded full life.“We are urging parents together with caregivers to consistently utilise support groups as they provide relationship development interventions especially for parents with newly diagnosed children with constructive discussions in order to promote inclusivity and demystify any myths surrounding autism”, said the Founder ASK.Autism, she explained, is a broad spectrum disorder with unique characteristics because no child or individual is a replica of another.However, there are some primary characteristics that include, but are not limited to, poor social skills, difficulty with receptive and expressive communication, and restrictive and repetitive behaviors, and some children with autism may not develop speech.With little public knowledge of autism, Nyambura stated that the Autism Society of Kenya is urging the government to develop policies and legislation that will ensure access to care, early intervention, inclusive and equitable quality education, and quality of life for children and all individuals living with developmental disorders.“Since inception of the society in 2013 we have lobbied and advocated the government on the plight of persons living with autism and other developmental disorders”, she saidNyambura emphasized the importance of increasing their capacity and making relevant information available to parents and caregivers of autistic children.“We will continue lobbying both county and national government for the development of multidimensional programmes in mainstream national schools and the implementation of policies to ensure compliance of laws and regulations for persons living with developmental disorders in order to give guidance for decision making and streamline processes that facilitate access to well-rounded opportunities “, Nyambura said.ALSO READ:The Autism Society of Kenya (ASK), a parent-led organization, believes the prevalence of autism in Kenya could be as high as 4%, or one autistic child for every 25 children.According to the WHO, one out of every 1000 children has autism, whose characteristics can be detected early as the child grows, but its diagnosis is usually delayed until the child is two years old.Call For Action To End Autism Stigma

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