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The Pope will meet with hundreds of people with Autism

2014-11-18

On Saturday, Pope Francis will meet with hundreds of people with autism and their families. He wants to give a voice to their problems, especially their alienation by society, and to give them thanks.

The meeting will be on the final day of an ambitious world conference on autism organized by the Vatican. 

Scientists, doctors and families of those with autism will discuss the latest discoveries on this disorder and will exchange experiences on the best way to attend to those affected by it. 

PROF. STEFANO VICARI
Neuropsychiatrist, Bambino Gesu Hospital (Rome)
"We are convinced that the most effective treatment is an intensive treatment: many weekly hours of therapy, over 20 hours. It is a remarkable feat, through which the involvement of parents is fundamental.”

One out of every 100 children is born with autism, but the symptoms are unrecognizable until 18 months. Early diagnosis can help treat some manifestations of the disorder. 

PROF. STEFANO VICARI
Neuropsychiatrist, Bambino Gesu Hospital (Rome)
"One of the first warning signs for parents is that the child does not speak. Moreover, the child does not communicate even through gestures.”

They are people who do not speak, who do not make gestures. People who find it difficult to relate with others. But they are people nonetheless. The Vatican wants to also raise awareness on the situations of families with autistic children, because those affected are totally dependent on them. 

PROF. STEFANO VICARI
Neuropsychiatrist, Bambino Gesu Hospital (Rome)
"The family of an autistic child is a family at high risk. Many times, the families of autistic children are broken, above all for the weight of having to fact such a limiting disability, that shakes the foundations of family life and organization.”

MONS. ZYGMUNT ZIMOWSKI
President, Pontifical Council for Healthcare Workers
"The father of an autistic child said in a report: "All of a sudden, after the efforts we made with our favorite son, my wife and I received a precious gift. Suddenly, this little 7 year old came and said: I love you very much, I love you.”

Several Italian singers will also be present at the meeting with the Pope. They want to help the littlest patients to come out of their isolation, and show them that society still needs them.  


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