There are around 3,000 cases of autism in Kurdistan Region, according to unofficial figures.
Many are given support and training at the Region’s 20 specialist centers. However, just three of these centers are publicly owned. The centers aim to entertain and assist people on the autistic spectrum. However, many parents in the Region with autistic children often feel ashamed and do not go to parks or visit relatives due to embarrassment. Likewise, poor public awareness and understanding of autism often prevents parents sending their children to centers.
According to Britain’s National Autistic Society (NAS), one percent of the world’s population is on the autistic spectrum. “Autism is a lifelong, developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people, and how they experience the world around them,” according to NAS.
Kamal Jabari-Head of the Kurdistan Autism Society reported that mechanisms for supporting people with autism in Kurdistan do not meet international standard since there are not advanced centers and awareness. Furthermore, he added that the level of autism increased and those diagnosed with it saw their situation worsening.