An Egyptian organisation is raising awareness of the struggles of children with autism – by encouraging people to share how they’ve helped individuals with it.
The Egyptian Autism Society’s #IAmTheFirstStep campaign, launched for Autism Awareness Month, asks Egyptians to share how they have affected the life of a child with autism. It hopes to improve people’s acceptance of the disorder in Egypt, where people with autism often suffer from marginalisation and discrimination.
EAS implores readers to “Take the first step to understanding Autism... After all, the first step is you.”
Participating in the campaign, Khaled Dahawy at the American University in Cairo described meeting a student with autism, while a preschool discussed trying non-traditional teaching methods. Others using the hashtag shared that they had donated iPads to children or helped people with autism learn MS Word.
But the campaign didn’t impress everyone. Twitter user @QueenQahira called the campaign “absolute garbage”, arguing it suggested users should be praised for “treating people with autism with basic dignity and respect”.
“Because of this stupid ass #IamTheFirstStep shit people are posting on facebook about that one time they bought my brother an ice cap” she said.
@queenqahira do u want a nobel peace prize for treating people with autism with basic dignity and respect?— Nadia A. (@queenqahira) 11 March 2016
@queenqahira someone just posted about how they took him to the movies. Lord give me patience.— Nadia A. (@queenqahira) 11 March 2016
Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects an individual’s ability to communicate and interact with the outside world. Although there are no statistics on its prevalence in Egypt specifically, it’s estimated to affect about one in 500 people.
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