• Chris McMillan

The Inclusive School Fighting China’s Stigma Against Autism

Sixth Tone


2nd April 2019


The Inclusive School Fighting China’s Stigma Against Autism


Around half of the country’s autistic children don’t attend school at all. Integrated facilities are trying to change that.


GUANGDONG, South China — For once, the kindergarten classroom in Dongguan is quiet. Around the room, 28 young children nap on small single beds. When their teachers gently wake them in the early afternoon, Duan Yiyang stretches, removes his eye mask, and exchanges his pajamas for his orange school uniform.


Like most of his peers here, 5-year-old Duan is a gentle, polite kid. He patiently waits in line for afternoon dessert, compliments his classmates on their drawings, and pays close attention to his teachers. Only small details indicate that Duan has autism. The eye mask, for instance, blocks out any light that stops him from sleeping — a common problem among autistic children, who tend to find it harder to nod off than other kids. When he speaks, Duan tends to use simpler language than his peers and sometimes fails to complete his sentences. On rare occasions, he loses his temper and becomes disruptive.


Schools like Yulan are rare in China. The country is home to more than 2 million children with autism, with 200,000 new diagnoses every year, according to a 2017 report jointly released by Beijing Normal University, the Beijing-based Wucailu Autism Research Institute, and state news agency Xinhua.


Editor: Matthew Walsh.


http://www.sixthtone.com/news/1003795/the-inclusive-school-fighting-chinas-stigma-against-autism


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