Society, parents, medical specialists and therapists, are all in need of information, screening tests and trainings in order to work with children with Autism. The general practitioners and pediatricians must be facilitated and stimulated to apply the specific tests for diagnosis, which are being used all over the world. It is important for the tests to be adapted for use in Bulgaria, but it is also important for us to work towards finding proof of the effectiveness of the methods used.
These conclusions were reached at the roundtable discussion that was held on the 3rd of April at The National Assembly of Bulgaria. The topic was “Institutions with responsibility for our children with autism”. Participants at the forum, organized by the Karin Dom Foundation and the Patient organizations “Together with You”, were parents from “Association Autism”, the Chairman of the Committee on Health – Dr. Nigyar Dzhafer, Mr. Atanasov – member of the Education and Science Committee, Bulgaria’s national consultant on epidemiology - professor Kojuharova, the Chief National Health Inspector – Dr Angel Kunchev, journalists and business representatives.
“It’s a fact that this year more children will be diagnosed with Autism than with diabetes, cancer and AIDS, put together”, Dr. Nigyar Dzhafer commented. In Bulgaria, we have no accurate epidemiology data for the number of people with Autism. Thus, we need to begin with the creation of a national register with accurate data on the disorders, the medical, psychological and psychosocial interventions, those people need and their individual educational needs.
Another issue discussed at the meeting were the employment difficulties experienced by people with Autism with an emphazis on the transition from education to work. The business representatives suggested to aid young people, diagnosed with Autism, by offering them employment options.
The executive director of the foundation, Mariana Nikolova, and Karin dom’s team of clinical psychologists, emphasized on the advantages of early intervention and called upon leaving the strict frames of consulting at the medical centres and actively entering the society. The family-centered approach is highly valued by the parents and it is one of the ways for achieving much better results when working the children.
The specialists from Karin Dom presented other initiatives that were welcomed with great interest – training seminars for medical professionals, specialist and parents, and the forthcoming International Autism Conference, which will be held for second consecutive year.
Earlier in the day an exhibition with drawings, created by children with Autism, was opened at the the National Assembly’s lobby. Two of the drawings were bought for charity by representatives of the National Centre of Infections and Parasitic Diseases.