World Autism Day marked in Albania and Kosovo4. April 2012 - 11:02 — Dejan Georgievski
On April 2, 2012, the World Autism Day was marked in Albania and Kosovo. While Albania again finds itself without any official figures how many children are affected by autism, in Kosovo a new centre for children with autism was opened.
The World Autism Day found Albania without official statistics on number of children affected by autism. However, medical professionals have raised the alarm about the fact that the occurrence of autism has increased over the past decade.
According to doctors, one in 160 children born in Albania is affected by autism. At the end of 2008, there were about 4300 children and adolescents diagnosed with this disease. That figure, however, has not been officially confirmed to this day.
Studies show that autism affects more boys than girls, 1 in 54 births to 1 in 88 births, respectively. Aferdita Seiti, director of the Autism Center says that requests for treatment of autistic children grow daily it day by day are increasing demands to treat autistic children.
This year’s World Autism Day this year finds Kosovo with a new center for children affected with autism, thanks to the efforts of Shpresa Xhakli, a mother of an autistic child, who initiated and fundraised the creation of the Centre. The new Centre is operational and offers services provided by its highly professional and advanced staff.
"The Autism Center was my personal initiative, and I worked on it for one year. I have invited psychologists from America ... I brought my equipment and gave my own apartment to turn it into the classroom to start a program for children with autism", says Xhakli.
The director of the United Center for Autism, Jeta Deva, says that the center will provide direct services, which will be unique in the sense that therapists will work individually with the children in a very dedicated approach.
"Six trained and experienced therapists that have worked in European countries now work with the Centre. There will be individual plans and depending on what intervention is needed with any individual children, we shall deal with the issue to ensure further development of their potentials”, says Deva.
She adds that the Centre will raise the issue and make a push through the institutions to ensure identification of children with autism all over Kosovo, to allow for these children an opportunity to get direct and efficient services from the Centre.
Parents of children with autism in Kosovo are happy and satisfied to have the United Center for Autism to provide services to their children. Violeta Hyseni, mother of an autistic girl, is certain that the professional staff at the Centre will help the children.
"Now there is a center for children with autism. is a professional staff, with trained therapists ... For World Autism Day, we are organized to sensibilize the public, because they have not enough information about autism. My appeal for this day is to be united for autism, because of the unity will be able to do our job better to help these children in the future "said Hyseni.
Autism is a disorder where the child is unable to establish any emotional connection with other people and damages to the expressed communication skills. Doctors claim that autism can be identified in the first months of life and can be understood by a specialist when the child is in the fifth month, while the visible signs range from 18 up to 36 months. (Emiljan Dyrmishi)
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