World Autism Day, an issue that weighs on 500,000 families – Health

In the last two years, the isolation linked to the Covid-19 pandemic has aggravated the conditions of people with autism and further complicated the lives of the approximately 500,000 Italian families who find themselves facing the practical difficulties that living with this condition entails. This is the complaint that comes from the associations in view of the World Day of Awareness of Autism which is celebrated on April 2 and which will see hundreds of monuments, in Italy and in the world, light up in blue.

For the associations, however, the lights on and messages of solidarity are not enough in the face of problems that “today are the same as ten years ago.but hidden from the news on the pandemic and the war “.

In Italy, one in 77 children, between the ages of 7 and 9, has an autism spectrum disorder, with a higher prevalence in males (4.4 times more than females). The first symptoms usually appear between 14 and 28 months of life.

World Autism Day, the facade of Palazzo Madama illuminated in blue

The complaint: People with neurodiversity have been ‘wiped out’ from the pandemic, no one raised the question of how the families managed the forced isolation. And this has weighed on an already difficult situation. The difficulties – he explains Gianluca Nicoletti, journalist and father of Tommy, a boy with autism – they start by coming to a diagnosis and accepting it. Then in understanding which therapies are worth pursuing, trying not to fall victim to fake news and false promises. With the arrival of school age the problems change. Despite the law on school inclusion that the whole world envies us, support is entrusted to teachers who almost never have specific training “.

If the school is the first failure, the second – continues the president of the Fondazione Cervelli Ribelli – is when the autistic becomes an adult: the management remains in the hands of the families, who often have no choice but to ‘confine’ them in residential structures, which with some exceptions, they are the only subjects to receive funding. For job placement, only small companies manage to do it. And the most distressing thought is what will happen when they are no longer there, given that the law on the After us still struggles to give answers “.

“We are not talking about tens of people, but hundreds of thousands, who still today – explained the National President Anffas, Roberto Speziale – they experience denial of rights, inattention, deprivation and invisibility “. Awaited for years, the guidelines of the Istituto Superiore di Sanità on autism in adulthood” will arrive shortly and will give important answers. Of course – he ensures Maria Luisa Scattoni, scientific director of the Autism Observatory of the ISS – already from the fact that they will also cover aspects such as the quality of life and housing solutions, not only diagnosis and pharmacological interventions. This is a turning point on the international scene “.

From the Ministry of Health 22 million euros for services and training

On the occasion of the World Day for Awareness on Autism, Pope Francis did not want to lack his closeness to people with autism spectrum disorders and to all those who care for them. The Holy Father granted, for Friday 1 April, a special audience to the Italian Foundation for Autism (Fia), an organization to which the associations and bodies representing the world of relatives of autistic people, autism services and scientific research. During the meeting, the Pontiff will greet all those present and listen to the message of Philip, a 20-year-old boy, who will be the spokesperson and witness of the needs, the joy of life and the efforts that people with spectrum disorders autistic express. At the end of the audience, the young people who participate in the training and work project of the BreakCotto social enterprise will distribute lunch to the poor in Pope Francis’ canteen.

Meanwhile, from the Quirinale to Palazzo Madama, many monuments will join ‘Light It Up Blue’, lighting up blue on the night of April 2nd. Rai will devote ample space to the topic on all networks and the fundraising campaign is back again this year # challengeAutism22 of the Italian Foundation for Autism (Fia), committed to funding research projects on early diagnosis and clinical interventions: until April 10, it will be possible to donate through a Solidarity SMS to 45592. While, for the occasion, Pope Francis will receive tomorrow a delegation of young people and associations will be in the audience. Finally, the tenth edition of the Run for Autism promoted by the Filippide Project, on Sunday 3 April, will bring over 400 autistic children from all over Italy to the streets of central Rome, to testify to the role of sport in social inclusion.

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