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In Africa, autism is followed by stigmatization, which in some cases gets really difficult for the families and the child or children with autism.
This has to stop.
It’s up to each one of us to educate each other.
We want to document the experiences other families have had…
1. The experiences before they got a diagnosis, to life after the diagnosis.
2. The support or lack of they received.
3. How has family and relatives reacted and or accepted this disorder.
4. The mental state of the mother throughout.
5. Progression of the child if any.
6. Hopes and conclusion of the family.
We would like to gather information on all cases we can find. We would love to document as many cases as possible around Africa. If one family sees another family going through, the same thing that they may have been shunned for, it would make a huge difference in their lives.
For us, that alone already drives the message home. Our AIM is to get to a point where every country has aid for ASD cases and assistance for their families. The stigmatization stems from lack of education about this condition, and because it is not a physical but mental one.
In this documentary, we also aim to explain what Autism is, what being on the spectrum means, in hopes that those who have autistic friends or family members can feel a sense of community. Many families feel isolated because they are stigmatized, children are bullied, none of this is acceptable, especially for their sense of well-being. Stigmatization is inhumane.
Many Autistic children in Africa are feeling different, they are failing to gain all that they should because the population is unequipped to deal with ASD. They don’t even know what it is, or that it exists. There is belief that it is a curse or source of witchcraft. This must stop.
This documentary aims to share stories from all over South Africa and Africa, rural and urban areas and from all LSMs. The aim is to visually educate Africa and plan to have it screen on as many media platforms as possible so it reaches its purpose fully.
Research of Autism in Africa
According to various articles and research ; children with autism in Africa seem to be diagnosed around age 8, about four years later, on average, than their Western counterparts. More than half of African children with autism are also diagnosed with intellectual disability, compared with about one-third of American children on the spectrum.
Research conducted has been infrequent and unrepresentative of all African countries, making the prevalence of autism in Africa difficult to estimate. Prevalence may be underestimated because reported cases are skewed toward more severe, and thus more recognizable, cases of autism.
However most Africans are largely unaware of autism, despite its prevalence; and due to the fact that child mortality and malnutrition are more urgent concerns for most people.
Surveys were conducted in Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania and Ethiopia and healthcare workers and families frequently gave reference to the fact that it has to be a curse brought on by a taboo act such as cheating on a spouse or it is because the person is possessed by an evil spirit.
Many mothers don’t go anywhere or don’t visit family because no one understands the tantrums the children have, they are regarded as failure to discipline their child, and this is especially hard on an already stressed mother that now gets scolded and judged for failure to control her child. But this is due to lack of acknowledgement and education on the condition. All of this takes us back to the above listed points.
With the help of partners and volunteers from South Africa other countries, we are locating parents and adults with autism willing to share their stories on camera. The willingness to share their experiences on camera will help families who find themselves with similar situations and will be able to relate in a real way . South Africa has many families willing to share their stories, and we are ready to film them .
We hope you come on board this journey with us and help make these unique and amazing children and adults' lives better, one story at a time.