Autism

Globally, autism occurs in approximately 1 out of 100 people.  In Kazakhstan then, there are probably  about  170,000 people with autism.  Autism can be a devastating diagnosis.  The impact on family life often includes:

Social stigma:

Families often deny the diagnosis or refuse to seek medical attention for fear that their child will be labeled.  Ignoring the problem is often seen as preferable to the consequences of receiving a diagnosis of autism.

Financial stress:

Family members often become house-bound and unable to work.

Social isolation:

Children with autism are commonly misunderstood and ostracized. Some of our children have been kicked off city buses because of behavior that is seen as abnormal.

Inability to receive or give hospitality:

Families may not be invited as guests to other families because of social discomfort with the autistic child. Families lose confidence to invite others into their homes because of this perceived awkwardness.

Pressure from the extended family:

Extended family is very important in Kazakhstan. If a child has problems, the larger family may not respond well to the father and mother, and that brings shame. This stress can be particularly difficult for fathers, as the head of their family. Parents may feel it is somehow their fault they’ve had a child with a disability.