More training should be provided to autistic children: Association president
Autistic children need “intense training” and parents are having problems due to the low number of training hours given to their children, Aydın Çayan, the president of Turkey’s Autism Foundation, has said.
“Intense training should be provided to autistic children. And the biggest problem that the parents go through is the low number of training sessions. It is not possible to get a result with two-three session every week,” Çayan told state-run Anadolu Agency on April 1, a day before World Autism Awareness Day, which is an internationally recognized day on April 2 every year.
“Especially for children of small ages, training should be provided daily. Trainings amounting up to 120-160 hours a month should be given so that the children learn how to stand on their own,” Çayan said.
Çayan said that autism cases are on the rise in Turkey, as is the case for the world, and one out of 58 children are born autistic. When the research looks at the prevalence of autism among boys and girls, boys are 4-5 times more likely to have autism than girls, he said.
Turkey’s Autism Association was founded in 2011, Çayan said, adding that he and the founding members of the organization all have autistic children.
The association has a training center in the capital Ankara, which provides rehabilitation services for autistic children, he said. The purpose of the center is to have children develop their self-care skills and abilities that will help them stand on their own feet.
“Parents go through the anxiety of ‘What will happen to our children when we die and get old.’ Places such as guesthouses, where children can stay temporarily, should be built. When parents go to for example funerals, visit patients or go to weddings, there needs to be a place where they can leave their children safely. Parents cannot go anywhere leaving their children,” he said.
“There should be safe places [for autistic children]. The existence of such places is also important for children to obtain their independence. Children need to obtain their independence starting from small ages, and they need to leave their houses for this,” he said.
According to data Anadolu Agency received from the Turkish Health Ministry, a total of 805 children were diagnosed with autism in Turkey last year.
More than 650,000 children were examined in 2018 by family physicians on whether they had autism or not. Some 15,087 of these children were referred to children experts for further evaluations. Of this figure, 805 children were said to have autism.