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AUTISM IN AFRICA

Is there really autism in Africa?

Yes! The most recent CDC  shows that 1 in 59 children have autism spectrum disorder. That's way up from the 1 in 150 ratio that was released less than 10 years ago! Globally, autism is estimated to affect 24.8 million people as of 2015.


Autism, or Autism Spectrum Disorder, is developmental disorder characterized by troubles with social interaction and communication and by restricted and repetitive behavior. It is caused by environmental and genetic factors. Those with autism typically have difficulty with communication (verbal and non-verbal), speech, fine and gross motor actions, behavior, and self-care. 


Researchers believe that autism is a disorder that dates back further than we think. Autism was put in the books and labeled as such beginning in the 1940's. As we know, just because it was labeled in the 1940's doesn't mean that's when it began. Our understanding and knowledge of ASD has grown substantially through the decades. Research, services, advocates, etc. have put us in the position to help these members of our society. 


However, not all culture and areas of the world have adapted to this information and these practices. In some places in Africa, autism is seen as a curse on the family, or worse still the mother is labeled a witch; and mother and child are shunned by society. Based on these views by some areas, parents with children on the spectrum sometimes keep their children inside because of shame and fear while wanting, but unable, to get the services their child needs. 


The reason for this is the lack of knowledge about ASD being spread around the world. Areas lack the current knowledge and practices. Schools lack adequate funding and facilities. In African countries, where economy is driven by the hard working labor force, a large part of their society with the skills to contribute is being shunned. 


Aba Africa hopes to spread awareness and knowledge while providing educators with adequate supplies and facilities.