Autism spectrum is the fastest growing developmental disability the world
over. Few years ago, there was one autistic for every 20,000 live births,
but today one for every 150. This type of neurological disability is
prevalent among boys. They are very handsome, and look normal at first encounter.
Perceptually, they are visually-oriented and could see and identify even a
tiny object in detail. This is because their brain faculty is modulated in
that order just to compensate their deficit as manifested in verbal
expression. However, due to the advance of educational and assistive technology
their ability to express their needs is improving gradually.
Autism is the latest type of handicap to be identified in Eritrea. This
has to do not only with global awareness, but with the progress of health
delivery and increment of medical personnel who are open to share their
knowledge and expertise with Eritrean public.
Lack of diagnosis, the autistic were and still are merely seen as dumb or
mentally retarded. Due to wide spectrum of autism, each is different who
needs a specialized treatment in all areas of life. Some are highly
functional who need a minor intervention while others are severely affected who
require a holistic approach in an effort to develop life skills. As described,
some have an artistic bent due to their photographic memory attributed to
their highly visual perception; others are good in music by virtue of their
above average acoustic sensitivity. They can tell you the result of
complex mathematical problem not by figuring out, but by recalling the exact
solution. Just like twelve times twelve that everyone can tell without
calculation. Few are deaf with whom I used to work at educational setting. They can
improve their expressive skills by learning sign language one-on-one bases.
That is by developing individualized educational program (IEP) in an
effort to meet the special needs of each student.
Autism was discovered in the fifties based on behavioral manifestation
such as withdrawal which is more pronounced. However, the exact causes of this
complex handicap have not been identified in medical field. It is
indiscriminate type of handicap regardless of race or economic status. But
according to repeated observation, the parents of autistic children seem to be
highly educated or naturally intelligent as long as the genetic aspects of its
syndrome are concerned. According to Dr. Temple who is mildly autistic
herself, some of the greatest American scientists such as Albert Einstein and
Bill Gate are believed to have had some mild autism due to their attraction
to electromagnetic light that revolutionized the light theory and computer
technology. As most Autistic do, Albert used to think in light or picture,
and as such, his theory is based in that order. That is why his formula is
still incomprehensible to thinking scientists who are well adapted to
The treatment of autistic children is costly, and it demands a highly
trained personnel and educational resources in an effort to help them grow
intellectually, socially, emotionally as contributing members of our society in
the making. I hope that parental intervention in Eritrea coupled with
public and societal support would alleviate the problems of acoustic children
to some degree. The recent meeting of founding members in Eritrea is a case
in point. They can act as spokesmen and spokeswomen of their speechless
children. Our autistic children are not alone as long as they have a
thoughtful parents who love them for who they are.
Up from handicap.
Haile B okure
Received on Sun Nov 30 2014 - 08:53:50 EST