China’s Autistic Children Living in Silence

autism in china

When Li Li Juan’s young son was still nonverbal at 26 months, she brought the boy to a local hospital in her home province of Henan, China. Shortly after, he received an autism diagnosis.

Ms. Li is a middle school teacher, and she decided to become certified to teach kindergarten in order to educate her own child. She took matters into her own hands since her area had no special needs programs that were suited to help her autistic son.

Eventually Ms. Li discovered the Beijing Stars and Rain Education Institute for Autism, so she relocated when her son was five so that he was able to attend. After three months of receiving Applied Behavior Analysis, she observed significant improvements in her son’s ability to carry out tasks independently. She does, however, worry frequently about the boy’s future.

Her worries are shared by many parents in China. The densely populated nation has a distinct lack of trained professionals who specialize in autism therapy. Assuming that autism rates in China are statistically similar to other countries, it is likely that millions of children have with ASD are never diagnosed. In the entire country of more than 1.3 billion citizens, there are just four board-certified behavior analysts.

The discrepancy leads to many, many children with autism never receiving the therapy they need. Of the few options that are available to treat autism, services are only extended to children ages six and under, and no adult services are offered. The Chinese are still largely unaware of autism and most parents, teachers, and professionals are not able to identify the signs.

But the good news is that in recent years, autism awareness has become a growing trend in China. On May 17, which is China’s National Day for the Disabled, the government dedicated its focus to autism spectrum disorders. A significant amount of public funding has been appropriated toward autism research in recent years.

A set of large-scale prevalence studies, the first two ever conducted in China, are now being carried out to determine the rates of autism among 120,000 children studied. Scientists are also working to discover possible genetic links to ASD.

Chinese parents also have access to more tools than previously available to help their autistic children. The first Chinese mobile app which helps kids with delayed verbal skills communicate is currently under development. Parents can also seek help from The World Health Organization, which offers an autism intervention curriculum. Stars and Rain recognizes the shortage of trained professionals available, and the clinic also provides training to parents to maximize their children’s’ improvement within the home.

This material was originally sourced from The Wall Street Journal.

Written by Hannah Jay

This entry was posted in Autism Action Alerts, Autism Advocacy, Autism Awareness, Autism Causes, Autism Diagnosis, Autism Education, Autism International, Autism Research, Autism Resources, Autism Symptoms, Autism Therapy, Autism Treatment, Featured and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

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