Wednesday, April 2, 2014


Today is World Autism Awareness Day

I'm not an expert and I can't back this up with hard statistics, but I suspect at least 25% of the children in Ukrainian mental institutions are there because they have autism. They are there because their parents, doctors, schools and communities were not equipped to care for them or even understand them.

Add to that the number of children with institutional autism. Children in institutional care do not develop properly and many of the damaging effects of this type of care mimic autism. Awareness is desperately needed. It's a start.

I met a really handsome young boy in February. Pretty face, winning smile, but totally unreachable. He is locked away from the world inside an institution...and also locked away in his mind. It is all that his loving caregiver can do to keep him safe and keep him from eating grass. 

There is no therapy for him. No one is trying to reach him.  Seclusion and forced naps are commonly prescribed for children who may get very excited and show the need for sensory input. Awareness and education are needed around the world.