Raising awareness about disabilities

2018-12-06 06:00
PHOTO: suppliedDisabled children need special attention and care.

PHOTO: suppliedDisabled children need special attention and care.

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THE International Day of Persons’ with Disabilities is commemorated annually on December 3 to promote the rights and well-being of people with disabilities. The day also seeks to increase awareness about people living with disabilities.

The South African Constitution guarantees the rights to equality and dignity to all citizens, including people living with disabilities.

KwaZulu-Natal based NPO Autism in Action (AIA) said autism can also be regarded as a form of disability.

According to the AIA, autism is rarely diagnosed in the townships and rural areas, this poses a large issue for the person with the disorder and those around them.

The organisation said that autism is a wide-ranging spectrum disorder. Every individual with the condition is different, and faces a unique range of challenges, and opportunities.

But autism is not only about the individual. It involves entire families, and communities. Indeed, for families affected by the condition, meaningful progress relies on an ability to share knowledge, skills and experiences with others.

The organisation provides essential autism resources and services, including an early intervention programme, to parents, children, and families, from the time of diagnosis.

Director of AIA Kirsten Miller said in a statement: “Families that can participate in an autism eco-system benefit enormously from the process.

“From understanding the basics around communication and sensory difficulties, to interacting with other children and parents through to support from experienced doctors and educators, regular interaction and knowledge sharing within such a system changes the way families think about, and work with, autism. The challenge for most affected families, of course, is accessing such a community.”

She encouraged people to commemorate the day.

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