On Tuesday, 2 April, the world celebrated Autism Awareness Day and Mpumalanga Mental Health Society joined in the celebrations.
Officials, parents and beneficiaries of the Mkhondo Autism Support Group came together on Thursday, 25 April at an Autism Awareness event, hosted by Mpumalanga Mental Health Society, to learn more about autism.
Mary Moeketsi of Autism South Africa had an educational presentation which informed the attendees about Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), while caregivers prepared some delicious snacks to be enjoyed in between.
The Mpumalanga Addiction Rehabilitation Centre (MARC) and The Mkhondo Autism Support Group also presented the social services they offer and spoke about all the help they can provide.
Mpumalanga Mental Health Society was founded in 2015, with their main focus being to educate the public and support people who live with ASD, as well as the parents of children diagnosed with ASD.
Because this is a spectrum disorder with different characteristic behaviour, parents need the correct information to successfully take care of a child with Autism. Some quick Autism facts from www.autismspeaks.org
In 2018 the CDC (The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention) determined that approximately 1 in 59 children is diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), 1 in 37 boys and 1 in 151 girls.
- Boys are four times more likely to be diagnosed than girls.
- Most children are still in the proses of being diagnosed by the age of 4, although Autism can reliably be diagnosed as early as the age of 2.
- 31% of children with ASD, have an intellectual disability (with an IQ below 70), 25% are on the borderline (IQ 71- 85), and 44% have IQ scores in the average to above average range (IQ above 85).
- Autism affects all ethnic and socioeconomic groups.
- Minority groups tend to be diagnosed later and less often.
- Early intervention creates the best opportunity for healthy development and deliver benefits across the lifespan.
- There is no medical detection for autism. For more information on Autism Spectrum Disorder please visit the website mentioned.
You are never alone in your journey with autism, seek a support group near you or join one on social media, there are thousands of people who will truly understand your struggle. For more information about Mpumalanga Mental Health Society please contact Zanele on 082 077 5148.