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The Charity Group's Autism awareness campaign

The Charity group dedicated the month of April to raising awareness about autism.

On 2nd April, on the occasion of the International Day of Autism, we invited all members to wear blue. Bangladesh took it really seriously, the whole embassy was lighted in blue !

On 14th April at the April Coffee morning, we launched our new fundraising product: the recipe calendar!

Thanks to the contribution of many of us, we were able to put together a collection of soup recipes from all over the world. We sell the book 150 TL. The benefits will go to the Autism Foundation.

On 20th April, we organised a visit to the Autism foundation in Ankara.

Dedicated to supporting children with autism by giving them the tools to become independent, the Foundation was created in 2010 by a group of parents with autistic children.

The group first had a lively exchange with the director, which gave us the opportunity to understand the difficulties that face families with autism in Turkey. In public school, support to an autistic child is only 2 hours/week. Parents thus have to find solutions by themselves. This is why the Foundation created a school. It currently has 70 students. The objective, prior to academic curriculum, is to give them life skills. The child learns to be with others, clean himself, cook, gain confidence. Another important aspect is family support. Parents are actively engaged in the management of the Foundation, receive training and support each other.

The director then took us through the school. Financed by Cankaya Municipality, the facilities are divided in three parts: sports rooms/ academic classes/ arts and crafts. We were impressed by the quality of the infrastructures. There is, among others, a swimming pool, sports hall, climbing wall, art class, music room, and even a chocolate factory.

The children make beautiful crafts, such as jewellery boxes which our group liked so much that they bought almost all of them! The chocolate boxes were also a big success. We will make sure that SHOM members can get a taste of it at our coming events!

We ended the visit with an informal meeting with two parents. As one of us said so well: “It was really moving to hear from the parents about their feelings of alienation and helplessness in not knowing how to ensure schooling for their children diagnosed with autism.”

One of their main fear is: what will happen to my child when I pass away? The dream of the Autism foundation is to establish a permanent nursing home so that children may have a place to stay during family emergencies and older people with autism could take shelter after their loved ones pass away.

On 27th April, we invited SHOM and the parents at the Autism school to join us in a zoom talk with a neuropsychologist from Paraguay, Dr. Montserrat Vazquez. In a clear and accessible way, Montserrat explained how we can improve the learning skills of autistic children.

She explained how the brain of these children is organised differently. It is not linear like “us”. A child can be very good in language, for example, but very poor in motor skills. Each child is different. A teacher who keeps talking without moving will not make any sense to them. Montserrat explained how class rooms have to be organised, how non verbal communication can be used.

Thanks to Ibrahim from the Paraguay embassy, the parents from the Autism school could follow the translation in Turkish.

And last but not least: Thank YOU for supporting us from the Charity Team and help ut to shine a light on autism!

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