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Children with autism get chance to flourish

Xinhua | Updated: 2024-04-16 06:29
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Offering motivation

One mother in Guizhou's Yuqing county, who has chosen to be referred to by her surname, Peng, has a 6-year-old daughter with autism. She was diagnosed at the age of 4 and has been receiving rehabilitation at the center for more than two years.

"My daughter has become more talkative and cheerful, and is able to take care of herself to some extent. The government subsidy reduces the financial burden on my family and gives me the motivation to stick to it," Peng says.

Over the decades, China's autism rehabilitation system has continued to improve. In Guizhou, an early screening system for autism has been gradually established, and an increasing number of autism rehabilitation services have been provided by institutions such as disabled persons' federations, hospitals and nongovernmental organizations.

In 2006, Zhao began trying her hand at integrated education. She remembers that during a visit to a regular primary school to plant flowers and other greenery with the students there, she asked the children which plant they thought was the most beautiful.

"The children said that this one is beautiful, and that one is also beautiful," she says. "I wanted to plant a seed in their hearts — life is diverse, and every life deserves to be respected.

"In the past, we wanted autistic children to improve themselves and fit into the lifestyles of neurotypical people. However, through integrated education, neurotypical children can learn to understand, accept and care for autistic children. These two-way efforts can make the lives of autistic children easier, and their families happier," she says.

In 2022, the center moved to a four-story building on a new campus, with the local government providing rent subsidies and many people donating items like office supplies, computers, tables and chairs.

Currently, some 300 people with autism are receiving services at the center every day. It has carried out integrated education practices with over 20 kindergartens, primary schools and high schools in Guiyang over the years, and more than 2,000 autistic children have been enrolled in regular schools.

"Although there are still many challenges ahead that need to be overcome, I am confident about the future," Zhao says. "The parents of autistic children also need to emerge from their loneliness and take care that they don't close themselves off. We need to view autism positively, accept it, and enjoy the different life it offers."

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