FAIRFIELD, Conn. and BEIJING, May 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Autism Support Network and Beijing Stars and Rain today announced a cooperative effort to spread autism awareness across China and elevate Beijing Stars and Rain's efforts to those outside of China.
Beijing Stars and Rain is China's first non-governmental educational organization dedicated to serving children with autism. Founded in 1993 by Tian Huiping, a mother of an autistic boy, the school is a grassroots educational institute providing special education for families of autistic children. It annually conducts four 11-week education and training programs for both children and parents from throughout China. The school has helped more than 6,000 autistic children and their families across the country and has won support from an army of volunteers from around the world. Stars and Rain has also recently opened a small group home for teens.
"Beijing Stars and Rain is undertaking work - a few families at a time - to help slowly turn the tide of autism ignorance in China and provides parental training and hope for those children and their families that would otherwise be hopeless," said Brian Field, co-founder of Autism Support Network. "As the first NGO in China spearheading such critical efforts, they are undertaking a leadership position that demands support not only within China but from organizations supporting autism internationally."
"We thank the Autism Support Network for their efforts to increase awareness of our programs and autism overall within China and across other counties," said Sun Zhong Kai, development officer for Stars and Rain. "By providing Autism Support Network materials in Chinese, we hope that many others within China will begin to understand more clearly what autism is and how therapy can be approached."
For those families that have children with autism in China, the combined lack of community awareness and available services can be devastating. Schools will often refuse to accept those with more severe autism, and parents are left with the daunting prospects of how to care for their child and - more specifically - face the prospects of what might become of their child when grown to adulthood after they are gone. Some families go so far as to commit family suicide rather than to face that future burden.
Today, 1 in 110 children is diagnosed with autism, with a new case diagnosed every 20 minutes it is the fastest-growing developmental disability in the United States. Current estimates put the number of children in China with autism at roughly 2 million, although official reporting may be dramatically undercounting this statistic. More children will be diagnosed with autism this year than with AIDS, diabetes & cancer combined. Autism is characterized by impaired social interaction, problems with verbal and nonverbal communication, and unusual, repetitive, or severely limited activities and interests.
About Autism Support Network
Autism Support Network (http://www.AutismSupportNetwork.com) is a free global online community - with members from over 210 countries - connecting families and individuals touched by autism spectrum disorder (ASD) with each other, providing support and insight, and serving as a resource guide for treatments, strategies and therapies.
About Beijing Stars and Rain
As the first autism-focused NGO in China, the mission of Beijing Stars and Rain (http://www.guduzh.org.cn) is to help people with autism within China reach their full potential, improve their quality of life, and enjoy equal opportunities. The program strives to be a bridge between society and children with autism.
SOURCE Autism Support Network