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Monday, May 31, 2010

Autism in China

Xinhua reports on the Beijing Chaoyang Anhua Intelligence Training School, one of China's very few schools for autistic kids. Though government-funded, it still charges tuition that puts it beyond the reach of many families.

As to what kind of future the kids can have, Long Jianyou, the president of Anhua School, says, "In the best scenario, graduates from Anhua' s vocational high school can find employment."

Anhua caters for children from pre-school through to high-school ages.

This year, 12 of the graduates have already found jobs in reputable hotels, doing fairly menial jobs such as changing bed sheets. "They could earn as much as 1,700 yuan a month," says Long.

"The employers offering jobs to our kids are all China-based foreign companies," says Long.

"There is not a single domestic company doing this. They might employ physically disabled persons, but never those mentally challenged," Long says, blaming Chinese people's poor understanding of autism for this.