Autistic children are discriminated, parents

The children with autism are most of the times discriminated by mates in secondary schools. The situation in kindergartens is far from being ideal, while the parents of children with autism spectrum disorders want greater support from the state as the costs they incur for treatment and rehabilitation are enormous, said Maria Kionig, director of the Correctional Center for Children with Developmental Peculiarities “Alegor” of Chisinau.

On April 2, the world celebrates World Autism Awareness Day and the Republic of Moldova also aligns itself with this event, IPN reports.

According to Maria Kionig, some of the parents and children in general schools do not want their son or daughter to study in a class where there is an autistic student. These parents consider the neurotypical students can imitate the behavior of an autistic child if they stay near this for hours. In such conditions, the autistic children have to attend special schools and kindergartens. 

The parents who raise and educate an autistic child encounter financial difficulties as they need 10,000-20,000 lei a month for the treatment and rehabilitation of the child. The state support for these families is very modest. The child’s disability pension, the compensation for transport and the childcare allowance come to 2,000 lei or less. Many of the parents cannot work as they have to often attend rehabilitation courses with the child. If they find a job, they need a personal assistant who would take care of the child, but there are not many persons ready to work as personal assistants as the state pays them only 3,000-4,000 lei a month.

The public association for the protection of autistic children and their families “SOS Autism” warns that the diagnosing of autism in Moldova remains a challenge. Official statistics show the number of diagnosed children rose from 144 in 2012 to 663 children in 2019. At the same time, 1,400 autistic children were identified in 2018 alone within a study carried out together with the Society of Narcologists and Psychiatrists of Moldova.

Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. Autism cannot be cured, but some of the autistic children, with early intensive intervention, in time learn to lead a somehow independent life.

On the occasion of World Autism Awareness Day, a series of events, including online ones, will be staged in a number of towns in Moldova, including on the left side of the Nistru. This year, “SOS Autism” conducts a campaign entitled “Seek screening in autism! Increase your child’s chances of recovery”. The campaign is aimed at informing all the parents with children aged 18 months of the necessity to have screening in autism that consists of nine questions put to the parents plus the observation of the child. It will be carried out on TV (social ad) and on social media.

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