Japan donated US$80,840 to help treat Shanghai's autistic children, those who have difficulties communicating, interacting and often cannot respond to affection - a serious problem in a highly verbal society such as China.
Shanghai has at least 10,000 known autistic children, mostly living in their own worlds, out of touch with reality and given to repetitive behaviors.
The Shanghai Charity Foundation received the donation from Consulate General of Japan yesterday.
It is the first local institution for treating children with autism. Funds will purchase more sports facilities and fix utilities for the school, according to Jiang Limin, director of the Shanghai Sincerity Children Convalescent's Kindergarten.
Among the 1.8 million children known to be suffering from autism in China, over 10,000 of them are in Shanghai, based on the Sincerity Kindergarten. However, the Sincerity facility was only founded in 2003.Currently 20 professional therapists are helping about 35 children there under age of seven.
"There is always a line-up on our enrollment list," said He Xiaoyun, the facility supervisor. "Expanded facilities will hopefully let us have more professionals and look after more autistic children in our institution.
"The kindergarten so far has treated 160 children with autism, and 30 percent of them have been able to enter elementary schools.
Ye Lan, a teacher, said that autism is a lifelong but non-progressive disability, and a cure has not been found.
Jiang, the director of the school, also a mother of an 11-year-old autistic boy, says early treatment makes a difference.
(Shanghai Daily November 29, 2005)