Autism Support Network and Autism South Africa Together Engage to Heighten Autism Awareness, Support

ASN


JOHANNESBURG and FAIRFIELD, Conn., April 5, 2010 — Autism Support Network and Autism South Africa today announced a partnership to foster autism education and support across South Africa and internationally. Autism Support Network will promote Autism South Africa’s ongoing informational programs across the nine South African provinces and highlight its resources.

In a nation of over 50 million people, autism in South Africa is only marginally acknowledged with little support or awareness. Those with autism are frequently institutionalized and not provided the therapeutic support that can integrate them meaningfully into society. Furthermore, due to the significant lack of understanding regarding autism in the country, outside of urban areas those with autism and other developmental delays are often regarded as “bewitched” or “possessed” and some forced to undergo dangerous and cruel measures, such as being tied to trees and force-fed hydrochloric acid to “vomit the demon” out.

“Autism South Africa is a prime example of a few individuals undertaking the herculean challenge of developing national awareness, understanding and acceptance of those with autism,” said Brian Field, co-founder of the Autism Support Network. “Their grass-roots efforts, community outreach and identification of local service providers demonstrate how - through persistent efforts - positive incremental change can be realized despite overwhelming obstacles. We support their efforts and will promote their programs to our South African members and assist in elevating their needs to those outside of the country.”

“We are grateful to the Autism Support Network for its efforts in expanding autism awareness and support of our national programs,” stated Jill Stacey, National Director of Autism South Africa. “Our challenges in building awareness for autism in South Africa continue to be significant. Through cooperative partners like ASN, our hope is that our goals can be realized more quickly and that our efforts can be increased as the global community sees and understands our needs.”

About Autism Support Network

Autism Support Network (http://www.AutismSupportNetwork.com) is a free global online community - with members from over 180 countries - connecting families and individuals touched by autism spectrum disorder (ASD) with each other, providing support and insight, and serving as a resource guide for treatments, strategies and therapies.

About Autism South Africa

Autism South Africa (http://www.AutismSouthAfrica.org) is a non-profit agency whose mission is to initiate and support the provision of affordable and sustainable autism-specific services across South Africa.


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