An inclusive school together with parents are committed to raising awareness about autism in the Congo. The La Case Dominique school was set up in 1999 by the Religious Sisters of Saint Martin and welcomes children with autism and Down Syndrome.
Autism is a human development disorder characterised by social learning and communication difficulties. Many people affected by autism experience stereotyped behaviours, highly repetitive gestures and lack of coordination of movement.
In Congo, autism is considered to be a mystical disease with witchcraft origins. Parents of autistic children often hide them due to the prejudice attitudes of the society.
The coordinator of La Case Dominique school, Sister Ida Louvouandou says “The objective is basically to teach the Congolese and tell them that an autistic child is a child like any other one, a child who must be welcomed, who has rights and whom we must try to understand in order to better accompany him.”
Photo: (c) Spectrum