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Sunday, February 5, 2012

Autism, China, and Stigma

Channel News Asia reports:
China is a relatively latecomer to the diagnosis and treatment of autism, a developmental disorder.
Even though progress has been made over the past two decades in its treatment and understanding, families still struggle to cope with autism, especially its social stigma.
Sufferers of the disorder tend to withdraw from the outside world, and have impaired social interaction and communication skills.
Teachers at Peking University Hospital's training centre for autistic children, for example, try to improve an autistic child's ability to make eye contact and perform simple tasks such as hitting a ball.

For several decades now, autism in China was not only an unfamiliar condition, but had often been wrongly diagnosed. In fact, it was only as late as 2006 that it was officially recognised and registered as a disability.
In China, autism is also known as "gu du zheng", or "the lonely illness".
But with the help of more research, education and investment - along with a dose of greater social acceptance - perhaps, the condition can be made a little less lonely for its sufferers.
EuroNews reports: