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It’s second of April, time to gather your blues and raise autism awareness. Over 160 countries worldwide today part take in the Light It Up Blue campaign.

The United General Assembly adopted resolution 62/139 tabled by the State of Qatar and declared second of April as world Autism Awareness Day (WAAD) in 2007.

Autism is a life long development disability which manifest itself on zero to three years infants. An autistic child requires extra attention and intense intervention in order to develop.

Their brain development complexity delays their development. They have difficulties in social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication, repetitive behaviours and differences in sensory perception. Including inability to understand social rules, impaired senses and rigid ways of thinking.

Autism spectrum disorders have varying degrees. Ranging from gifted to severely impaired; some autistic children need low interaction while others require high interaction.

Intense intervention, managing sensory development via therapy, structure and routine, and applied behavioural analysis can enable them to do what their peers do. Constant practice and practicality are required to initiate development.

The sooner a diagnosis is made it is the family’s responsibility together with the social development and department of health to ensure that the child gets special training.

Social development had implemented community based programs for parents and care givers in South Africa. Families should enrol in early development programs, access health and rehabilitation services.

One autistic child is equal to six neurotypical children. In class where a teacher has eight autistic kids the teacher is working with 48 neurotypical kids. In South Africa about 136 000 autistic children are getting special education. According to research study at UCT, two percent of children are affected.

Though its difficult to acquire precise statistics and help autistic children due to stigma, unreliable prevalence studies to indicate figures in South Africa, lack of medical intervention and cultural misconceptions.

Initiate autism awareness in communities to break the conspiracy of cultural misconceptions. Shine a blue light, wear blue clothes and raise blue flags to symbolise solidarity. Share information and give advices to help an autistic child.

By: Mogotladi Makgato

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