Mansur is a bright, quiet-natured 12-year-old boy who lives in Tajikistan with his family. Mansur loves playing on the computer, listening to music, and going to the cinema and the park. He has a great memory for pictures and words, and is a quick learner. For much of his life though, Mansur has not had the opportunities that other boys his age have. This is because Mansur has Autism.
Until very recently, Autism has been entirely unrecognized in Tajikistan. Children with Autism have often been misdiagnosed and prescribed inappropriate treatment, which is frequently detrimental to their development. The majority of the time, children with Autism have spent most of their days at home, without appropriate educational opportunities or the chance to be with other children their age.
Fortunately for Mansur, his mother was one of the parents involved in starting “IRODA – Parents of Children with Autism Initiative”. In 2010 a group of parents, who had gone to great lengths to seek out the appropriate diagnosis for their children, responded to the lack of services and support by forming IRODA. Since then, the organization has been pioneering work in Tajikistan that aims to see that people with Autism are treated with dignity and respect, as valued and contributing members of their communities.
Thanks to the determination of Mansur’s mother and the innovative work of IRODA, the youngster now attends the local school with his peers. He also receives regular support from trained staff at the IRODA Centre to help with his learning and ability to cope with the challenges that Autism can bring. Since getting involved in IRODA’s work , Mansur has made significant gains in both his independence and academic skills. Five years ago it was stressful and difficult for him to leave the familiar environment of the family home. This year he attended and enjoyed IRODA’s first summer camp. Involvement with IRODA has equipped Mansur and his family with both the skills and confidence to open up Mansur’s world through new opportunities.
IRODA’s work has provided families with Autism-specific training and up-to-date information. Mansur’s mother is grateful for the new knowledge and abilities that this has given her, and the greater understanding of Autism that it has brought to all of the family members. Mansur’s siblings are now more involved in his learning and development, and the whole family has benefited practically and emotionally from the support of IRODA’s services.
Mansur’s future, like that of the other children with Autism recently identified in Tajikistan, has been made brighter through the formation of an organization dedicated to ensuring that people with Autism experience equal rights and opportunities. Thanks to your support, IRODA is transforming the lives of children with Autism and their families by providing them with new knowledge, skills, and opportunities.