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Children with autism get chance to flourish

Xinhua | Updated: 2024-04-16 06:29
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Seeking help

Born in 2000, Hao Hao lost his language abilities suddenly when he was 22 months old. Autism was under-recognized in Guizhou at the time, and Zhao had to seek help for her son in other parts of the country.

In 2002, Hao Hao was diagnosed with autism. "Then, I was very confused and didn't know how to provide support for my son, or how to educate him and provide rehabilitation," Zhao says.

To gain a better understanding of autism and learn about rehabilitation for autistic children, she visited rehabilitation institutions, hospitals and schools in cities such as Beijing and Guangzhou, Guangdong province.

"During that time, I met with parents of autistic children from across the country and realized that many families were under enormous pressure," she says.

While seeking medical treatment for her son, Zhao met Guan Fuqin, a doctor at the Guiyang Maternal and Child Health Care Hospital. Now in her 90s, Guan was among the first in Guizhou to provide autism diagnosis services for children.

"Guan advised me to establish an institution in Guizhou where children with autism could learn locally, and where their parents could help one another. She would act as a volunteer, offering support from a medical point of view," Zhao says.

Guan has been providing voluntary diagnosis and treatment services to children at the center for 20 years, as well as lectures and training for teachers and parents, Zhao notes.

In 2003, the Loving Home for Children Special Education and Rehabilitation Center was established, becoming the first rehabilitation and training institution in Guizhou to serve children with autism and other developmental disorders. In 2016, the center began providing services to adults with autism.

"The earlier children with autism receive professional rehabilitation, the better they will integrate into society in the future," Zhao says, adding that children up to 6 years old who receive training at the center are entitled to government subsidies.

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