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Those with autism face special challenges during the coronavirus lockdown
Thu, 2 April 2020 - Staff Writer
The 2nd of April 2020 is World Autism Awareness Day and April is Autism Awareness Month, which this year falls just after the start of the 21 day coronavirus lockdown in South Africa.
Autism South Africa describes autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism as general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development.
While the lockdown is extremely challenging for ordinary South Africans, those with autism, or Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) as it is referred to nowadays, face some particularly complex challenges.
Parents of autistic children often depend greatly on access to occupational, speech and other vital therapies to help with the complex set of challenges that come with autism, and with the lockdown in place they are not currently able to access therapy sessions.
While online resources may be of some assistance, in-person sessions very often have significant results, and skipping these sessions can result in increased challenges, especially for parents.
ASD is the fastest-growing developmental disability according the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The diagnosis rate for autism is increasing by 10-17% every year in the USA, and according to the CDC the prevalence of autism in American children increased by 119% from 2000 to 2010.
The CDC put the prevalence at an estimated 1 in 59 births in the USA in 2018. Currently, boys are more than four times more likely to have an autism diagnosis than girls of the same age.
With the autism rate in South Africa also being notably high, one would expect news coverage of World Autism Awareness Day to be more widespread, yet there was little in the news about it this week.
For parents feeling like they need assistance during the lockdown, Autism South Africa will be chatting about strategies to support autistic people during uncertain times on Saturday morning at 10am. The chat will be live on their facebook page and a link will be posted on this article before the time.
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