Faces of Autism

Ani Torosyan

Autism: concept that you shouldn’t be scared of, you just need to give more attention. In 2018 the CDC determined that approximately 1 in 59 children is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

1 in 37 boys
1 in 151 girls 

Based on the statistics provided by the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs of Armenia, ASD new cases for 2019 were 310, while the National Institute of Health says that 564 kids turned to them for medical care. 

There are many NGO’s and associations working with children with autism, and XS Association of Armenia is one of them. There are about 80 kids in the association so far. Through different exercises the specialists help them to integrate with society, to express themselves. 

The association, specialized in adaptive physical education, welcomes not only children who have some problems, but also those without disabilities. In the words of Sahak Khachatryan,  head of the association, the idea behind it is to fully integrate children with the society. By playing and practicing with children who don’t have disabilities helps autistic children to feel part of them. At the same time, it also helps and teaches other children to be more tolerant toward autistic children. 

"For giving motivation to children, trainers use different tactics, ranging from the methods of convincing to “creation of kind heroes.” I have created a hero, who is an old, kind man, giving chocolates to children. He usually leaves chocolates near the window after training. When they want to give up or don't want to practice, I just remind them of the old man, that he will give chocolates only to those who have practiced very well and have made good progress. And children are wondering when he will come, and knowing that the old man will come they start practicing," says Khachatryan.