Big Fat Smile for Autism in China!

big fat smile for autism

With a population of over 1 billion people, it is estimated that China has 13 million children with autism.

Yet, the country lacks proper training and resources to meet the needs of these children.  There are only about 100 doctors qualified to diagnose autism and only a handful of treatment centers (most of which focus on traditional eastern medicine practices).

Knowing this, it comes as no surprise that many have missed out on early detection, intervention, and education. Implementing these practices early in life are crucial in helping to manage the disorder. Chinese officials are recognizing that there is a strong need for more knowledge and resources regarding autism.

Big Fat Smile, an Australian based not-for-profit organization, has sought to change just that. At home, Big Fat Smile works with many communities by offering more than 40 preschools, play centers, playgroups, creative workshops, and outreach programs. They invision their facilities as magical places where children are driven to create a braver, brighter, and more creative world. They also pride themselves on being fun, diverse leaders and learners.

In recent years, Big Fat Smile’s CEO Bill Feld has been meeting with many educational leaders in Beijing, hoping to recreate the same ideas in China. It has become apparent that there is an overwhelming need for more qualified professionals. Their strategy is to recruit highly motivated individuals in the child’s life, such as the parents and families, and provide the necessary skills and techniques so that they can give their children a better future.

Along with the University of Wollongong, Big Fat Smile has developed a training package geared towards families, to help bring the best of western research. If approved, the Chinese government will spread this across the entire country. This will allow greater accessibility to quality materials. This organization’s success in Austrailia will hopefully provide the template for changing social policy and the lives of many people.

Written by Raiza Belarmino

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