April is known as the Autism Spectrum Disorders Awareness Month and it is symbolized by the blue color. On April 2, 2017, the American University in Cairo held an event called “Autism Awareness: Film Screening and Discussion.” The event was hosted by AUC's Graduate School of Education and the School of Libraries and Learning Technologies. The panelists were Dr. Rusanne Hozayin from the International and Comparative Education department, filmmaker Noha El Hennawy, research associate Ashley Parnell and Dr. Heba Kotb from the Psychology department. Each one of them presented a different aspect related to autism in the Egyptian society. The event started with the screening of 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. The aim behind this event was to show how mothers both in the public and the private sectors deal with Autism Spectrum Disorders and what obstacles do children face .
Dr. Kotb’s presentation introduced Autism Spectrum Disorders 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 Autism Spectrum Disorders. The WHO also stated that there could be some environmental or genetic factors.
Parnell then talked about early intervention and she said that “the earlier the diagnosis the better the long term effects.”