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Increasing number of children suffer from autism
Updated: 2004-08-11 21:49

Children suffering from autism, a brain disorder, have been rising rapidly in China and now there are altogether 1.8 million children with autism across the country.

Bai Xueguang, a professor of neurology with the People's Hospital of Hubei Province, based in Wuhan City, the provincial capital, said on average he had five to six children seeking medical treatment with him a month. During summer vacation the number has been higher, he said.

Bai, who is also vice-chairman of the Association of Rehabilitation for Children with Autism of Wuhan City, estimated the number of children with autism was growing at an annual rate of 20 per cent in the country, even higher than the world average of 14 per cent.

Autism is a complex developmental disorder best known for impairing a child's ability to communicate and interact with others. Sufferers, mostly boys, develop obvious symptoms of the disease between one and three years old.

Professor Bai believes that children with autism should seek medical treatment between 2 and 12. With proper medical treatment at right time, 20 per cent to 30 per cent of the sufferers with the incurable brain disease will be able to support themselves independently when they grow up.

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