There are over 60 million people affected by autism in the world. That is ten times more compared to the figures at the beginning of the millennium. Only in the USA the number of the afflicted has increased by one fourth in the last 7 years. In Europe the ratio of autistic to healthy children is stated as 1:106.That is more than with children’s diabetes or oncological diseases. More than 80% of all autistic children are disabled and cannot function without continuous all-day care.
April 2nd World Autism Awareness Day
The resources expended worldwide for the treatment and research of this still not very well-known disease are enormous and there will be need for more, proportionately to the growth of the affected people.
Our foundation will support specialized healthcare facilities that help children suffering from autism, contribute to the research in this area and assist other organizations that are trying to help disabled children in many different ways.
We already got used to the fact that humanity often pays some kind of a tax for its aggressive and insufficiently monitored development. One of these taxes is disease of affluence. If we carefully observe which diseases are on the rise at the beginning of the third millennium, we cannot overlook autism. Autism is often called the disease of the 21st century.
The symptoms of the disease are well-known: autists do not react when called by their name, they often scream and tend to react very emotionally, they do not make an eye-contact, do not like to be caressed, avoid physical contact, have delayed speech or do not speak at all, often give an impression that they cannot hear and usually play alone. In short, the child does not fully understand what he sees, hears or experiences. He or she has an interrupted development in the area of communication, social integration and imagination. The child stays isolated and is destined to solitude.
The public became aware of autism primarily thanks to four Oscars won by a famous film directed by Barry Levinson. His Rain Man starring Dustin Hoffman immediately gained sympathy in the whole world and at the same time somewhat incorrectly ascribed certain almost supernatural abilities to the people afflicted by this disease. It characterized them as ingenious individuals who are able to count toothpicks fallen on the ground in an instant or to recite the entire phone book by heart.
,,The term autism itself is derived from Greek autos or alone.“
However, in reality the so-called savant syndrome that bestows the afflicted individuals with extraordinary abilities occurs only rarely. With most of the autists the negative aspects of the development are not balanced by any positive ones or a talent, and the struggle with this disability tends to be long, hard and many times unsuccessful. The main and demonstrably effective treatment lies in a special care that works with dysfunctional emotions and helps the handicapped to correct their behavior towards their environment and to learn how to communicate with it.
The World Health Organization divides the autists into 3 categories based on the level of disability. The lighter forms – the Asperger syndrome and atypical autism - respond to the treatment provided in specialized psychotherapeutic centers more actively.
In 2013 the American Congress declared the funding of a research of the causes of autism and the support of the afflicted and their families as a priority. The costs for one autist in the USA come up to $2.3 million throughout his lifetime. The American society spends $137 billion a year on autism, while the costs of the research related to this affliction amount to only 0.6 % of the National Institute of Health budget ($30.5 billion) and do not correspond with the pace of the spread of the disease. The experts even regard autism as an epidemic due to its aggressive expansion and connect it more and more often with deterioration of the environment.
Our foundation will support specialized healthcare facilities that help children suffering from autism, contribute to the research in this area and also assist other organizations that are trying to help disabled children in many different ways.