Faith-Based Organizations Act on World Autism Awareness Day: Helping Autistic People Requires Concerted Efforts

An autistic girl and singer Wang Xiaotian sang a charity song during the Autism Awareness Campaign held by the Shanghai YMCA&YWCA on March 31, 2024.
An autistic girl and singer Wang Xiaotian sang a charity song during the Autism Awareness Campaign held by the Shanghai YMCA&YWCA on March 31, 2024.
By Mark Cui April 4th, 2024

The 17th World Autism Awareness Day fell on April 2, with the theme "Moving From Surviving to Thriving: Autistic Individuals Share Regional pPerspectives."

According to the data provided by the China Autism Agency Service Association, there are currently over 3,000 autism intervention and rehabilitation institutions in China. However, the vast majority focus on young people's rehabilitation, and less than 5% of institutions can accept older autistic people.

The demand survey conducted by the Amity Foundation indicates that institutions supporting the rehabilitation and employment of autistic adult people encounter numerous challenges in operation, including teachers, venues, equipment, and personnel salaries.

In recent years, autistic children have shown significant improvement in their situation. However, the employment issues faced by older individuals with autism require collective assistance from society. The faith-based Amity Foundation has provided support to aid them in the past years. 

The mother of a 26-year-old autistic son named Jiacheng spent over 20 years accompanying her son through rehabilitation training and vocational training, making him a vocational training assistant teacher at the Amity Bakery. With the Foundation's support, Chen Meirong, the mother of autistic twins, set up a community courier station with her son and some autistic boys in 2021.

Zou Xiaobing, a China expert on children's developmental behavior, called on the state and public welfare organizations to provide "effective, affordable, accessible, personalized, and graded scientific intervention measures" for more autistic children, advocating that normal school teachers should have certain special education knowledge and skills.

According to the Shanghai Agape Foundation, since April 2023, it has organized volunteers to participate in the volunteer activities of the "Love Coffee" autism practice base to promote communication between autistic children and society.

On March 31, the Shanghai YMCA, the YWCA, and the Shanghai Huaai Community Service Management Center co-launched an autistic children-caring publicity campaign, including an autistic children's painting exhibition, an autistic children African drum show, an autism knowledge game, artists joint live painting, and a public welfare theme song release, aiming to raise awareness among more people.

During the activity, an austic boy shared, "I am a boy who dreams of the universe, and I am eager to learn more about the universe. My wish is to be a lecturer in the Astronomical Museum one day."

A girl who loves cooking expressed her wish to learn how to make coffee. "It would bring me great happiness if my mother could taste the coffee I made." At the site, enterprises from all walks of life pledged to fulfill their wishes, hoping to help them realize their wishes," she said. 

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