Back in June of 2018, Rusell’s Reinforcers staffers, Marie and Salome travelled to Rwanda and Uganda on a fact finding mission on the state of Autism. The took opportunity to hold a Live Video session on awareness about Autism involving therapists from the US. (See Slideshow below and video at bottom of the page)
Marie and Salome were shocked to find a dire state of affairs that needs urgent attention.
Like in the States and in the development world, Autism is on the rise. But unlike in the US and other highly-resources nations, there is an inexistent support system for kids with Autism.
This is characterized by an absence of requisite professionals such as ABA/BCBA professionals, occupational, speech and behavious therapists.
Pediatricians are almost unaware of the condition themselves. Any support is sought from traditional healers who are quick to attribute Autism to ancestral spirits, enemies and all the other supernatural
Kids with Autism get thrown out of mainstream education system. There is no special needs schools where kids with Autism can attend education and find support
In the US and other resourced countries, Autism Diagnosis is usually performed between 18 months and 3 years. Early diagnosis is followed by early intervention which is key to progress and in some cases, recovery. In Africa, Diagnosis is absent in most countries. Parents have to travel to far away countries to receive a diagnosis.
There is a lot of stigma compounded by lack of awareness about Autism. Most parents and community around kids hide their kids away from the public eye.