Autism Awareness: Film Screening and Discussion
April is known as the Autism Spectrum Disorders awareness month and it is symbolized by the blue color. On Sunday, April 2, 2017 the American University in Cairo held an event called “Autism Awareness: Film Screening and Discussion”. This event was hosted by Dr. Heba Kotb, Filmmaker Noha El Hennawy, Research Associate Ashley Parnell and Dr. Russanne Hozayin. Each one of them presented a different aspect related to autism in the Egyptian society. The event started with the screening of Noha El Hennawy’s documentary movie “The Autism Ordeal: Mothers tell their stories”. It was then followed by two brief presentations conducted by Dr. Kotb and Parnell. A Q&A followed where some of the attendees asked some questions and shared their stories. The aim behind this event was to show how mothers both in the public and the private sectors deal with ASD and what obstacles do their children face by the surrounding environment.
Dr. Heba’s presentation introduced ASD as “a group of developmental disorders that includes a wide range spectrum of symptoms, skills, and levels of disability.” According to the World Health Organization, there is no specific cause of ASD. However, there could be some environmental or genetic factors causing ASD.
Ashley Parnell then started to explain how the early intervention improves the child’s condition later on. She said “the earlier the diagnosis the better the long term effects.”