Understanding Autism: A New Global Awareness
July 1, 2016

Egypt Leader Pushes Country Towards Understanding Autism

Within the United States and multiple parts of the world, it is no secret that mental illness is gravely misunderstood. In many societies, understanding autism spectrum disorder is difficult because there are few opportunities to learn about it. In some cultures, it can even be viewed as a curse because of the misunderstanding of autism and how it works. As the internet becomes more available in more secluded or poorer parts of the world, people begin to educate themselves, leading to steps in the right direction.

Progress in Egypt

In Egypt, understanding autism isn’t common among even high-class citizens. NPR recently reported on how a leader in Egypt pushed the whole country towards further understanding autism instead of being afraid of it. In April, Vice Admiral Mohab Mamish–head of the Suez Canal Authority–admitted to the public that his grandson has autism. Since many Egyptians had never heard of “autism” before, many thought it meant “mental retardation” or being a “street child.” Vice Admiral Mohab Mamish’s announcement made many reconsider what they thought about autism.

Spreading Awareness

Vice Admiral Mohab Mamish is not alone in his efforts to spread awareness. Aside from this leader, an educational psychologist by the name of Dahlia Soliman has been spreading awareness of autism spectrum disorder. Soliman made a bold move back in April by lighting up the Pyramids of Giza blue for Autism Awareness Month–but it’s just continued to spread the word about autism and how it works. The combination of Soliman and Vice Admiral Mohab Mamish is pushing Egyptian citizens into understanding autism.

More and more countries have begun to attempt understanding autism. As awareness progresses, so will our society. Autism Spectrum Disorder isn’t uncommon—around 1 percent of the world’s population has it. The more understanding that is achieved in one country, will eventually spread to citizens of even more places. Eventually developing a higher understanding of autism globally.

For more information about how different cultures are understanding autism, check out the blog on Seven Stars. Seven Stars is a therapeutic program for teens ages 13-17 struggling with neurodevelopmental disorders such as Autism Spectrum Disorder and ADHD.  

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