Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder that often interferes with a person's ability to communicate with and relate to others. ASD affects about 1 in 68 school-age children globally.
Due to the overlap between Asperger's and Autism diagnostic criteria, in 2012 child psychology researchers came up with the term ASD (which includes both Asperger’s and Autism diagnoses) - Autism Spectrum Disorder - and the 2 main criteria for diagnosing this disorder:
The impairments are trifold:
ASD is a spectrum disorder some people are more affected than others.
If the disorder is spotted and diagnosed as early as possible (before 3 years old) there are more chances to successfully intervene through therapy and help the child learn typical behaviors and communication. The expected result is adults that can integrate into society and live independently.
As children are affected in different ways and not all are diagnosed or start therapy early in life, not all progress is equal.
The course of these disorders from the autism spectrum is not consistent over time. People can get better. With correct intervention, they gain skills, and some of the repetitive behaviors and communication challenges disappear.
In 2017 in Romania there were more than 30.000 children diagnosed with ASD. These numbers do not include a large group of undiagnosed individuals, majority living in rural areas.
The ASD Campaign aims at raising awareness on the issues children and adults on the spectrum face. Through this campaign we will be able to understand better how this condition manifests and what kind of therapy tools we can use to mitigate the everyday challenges.
Since being aware can make us think but not necessary act, this campaign call for action is to raise funds to build a Residential Center for a group of adults with severe ASD - the ones at the curve tail, most affected and less supported by society and in danger of no support.
The main outcome is awareness at the national level about Autism Spectrum Disorder through coverage of the campaign by the national media.
The fund raising outcome is to build a Residential Center in Prejmer, Brasov, where adults with ASD can live in a semi-independent manner, with permanent trained personnel on the property grounds.
Upon completion of the center, on the property grounds, a small animal farm and vegetable garden will be set up to help the center become more sustainable and provide the adults with a daily occupation. ABA (applied behavioral analysis) therapy will be part of the program.
The Residential Center will have as beneficiaries the group of young adults from Crystal Children day center. They will live in this residential center without their parents or caregivers.
This residential center will serve as a sanctuary for adults with ASD that cannot live independently.
This center is a symbol of hope, a symbol of what a group of people with a strong vision can achieve together with the community. This center is but one center, it cannot cover the need of so many young adults with similar disabilities, nevertheless it is a pilot that can be replicated all over Romania.
In the next 1-10 years, we envision several such centers throughout Romania. We envision laws that are passed and applied locally to protect this vulnerable segment of society and provide the means for continuous development. And we need your support through our community to take it on and make it happen –better, stronger, as you wish in the name of the less independent.
No matter where one is, on the spectrum or not,everyone wants to be seen, appreciated and accepted for who they are. The young adults with ASD are no different. They react positively to praise, personal attention, and routine.
Watch below the interview with Gabriela Plopeanu, founder of Copiii de Cristal and with Şerban Todorica- Constantin, mayor of Prejmer village, Brasov County.