World Autism Awareness Day is just around the corner. This Wednesday, April 2 will be particularly memorable as it marks the 7th anniversary of the occasion which was first designated by the United Nations General Assembly in 2008 to recognize the need to help improve the lives of those with autism and to raise awareness about autism and autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
In honor of World Autism Awareness Day, Beijing Stars and Rain Education Institute for Autism as well as the China Charities Aid Foundation for Children have put together a charity event dinner that will take place from 6:30pm-9:30pm Wednesday, April 2 at Kempinski Hotel. The event will cover topics ranging from how we can increase fundraising, raise awareness, as well as how to bring out the love and care in people in order to move toward acceptance of autism. There will also be a raffle, an auction and a special performance by children with autism. Hosting the event will be CCTV’s Zheng Junfeng and Huang Jie.
In China, it is estimated that over one million people have autism, a number on the rise since the disorder was only formally recognized in the country in the early 80s. Though autism still goes largely unrecognized in China, fortunately, in more recent years, Beijing seems to be making progress in support for autism with a number of facilities offering specialized care designed to meet the needs of the special needs community and their families. Like Stars and Rain, these NGO operations rely heavily on support from the community and sponsors.
Though there’s still a long way to go in terms of recognition and treatment for autism in China, there seems to be a light of hope shining at the end of the tunnel that we are, at least, moving in a positive direction. Under the technical assistance of Autism Speaks, the Chinese Ministry of Health and Shanghai’s Fudan Children’s Hospital have began an unprecedented project to dramatically advance the nation’s understanding of autism. The project aims to determine the prevalence of autism in the nation for the first time screening more than 200,000 children and collecting blood samples for genetic research as well as developing culturally sensitive methods for screening, diagnosing and treating autism in China.
Autism Speaks is one of the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organizations. It characterizes autism and autism spectrum disorder as general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. “The disorders are characterized in varying degrees by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and non verbal communication and repetitive behaviors.”
For inquiries, tickets to the Stars and Rain charity event, donations and volunteering information, please contact Julia Lim.
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons and the UN