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China’s awareness on autism rises

(People's Daily Overseas New Media)    14:10, April 03, 2019

With the romantic name of “children of the stars,” autism patients in China have gradually come into the public spotlight, as the public, starting in the 1980s, have become more aware of the disease that affects over 10 million people.

According to the latest report issued by Wucailu, a facility for autistic children, the incidence rate of autism has increased year by year. Citing data from the United States, the report said the incidence rate of autistic children has risen from 1/88 in 2009 to 1/45 nowadays.

In China, the incidence rate is 0.7%. There are about 10 million people with autism, of which about 2 million are under the age of 12, the report found.

China’s first medical record on autism dates back to 1982 and in 2006 the disease was listed as a mental disorder. Since then, the nation has been acting to support this special group of patients, with autism institutes and organizations sprouting up across the nation to offer professional treatments and interventions for this population.

Many of the institutes aim to provide a safe and comfortable area for autism patients to earn a living for themselves and even their families.

Among them, a milk tea store in Wuhan, central China’s Hubei province, is one of the most famous ones.

Unusually quiet, the milk tea store, Taste of Star, was set up by Tong Ruiqin, a 48-year-old mother whose child suffers from autism. At the specially-renovated store that appeases autistic minds, several autism patients receive training for milk tea making and learn bakery skills. The store, currently supported by the parents of these patients, also sell some bakery products made by these delicate hands through online platforms.

“(We are doing this) in order for these children to have the skills and the ability to integrate into society in the future, so that parents don’t have any worries when they grow old,” Tong said.

The disease is no longer a new term for many Chinese. On Chinese-language Sina Weibo, the hashtag “World Autism Day” has received 170 million views as of Tuesday, Apr. 2 – World Autism Awareness Day, with many leaving comments of empathy and support.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Jiang Jie, Bianji)

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