Bishkek Hosts a Video Contest on Autism

April 7, 2014, 06:00

In connection with the World Autism Awareness Day on April 2, Bishkek Cinema House held the final round of its contest for short films about autism.


The theater was crowded with contest participants and visitors dressed in blue to show solidarity and support for people living with autism. Among the guests were former President Roza Otunbayeva, Deputy Member of Parliament Yrgal Kadyralieva and director Ernest Abdyjaparov.


The winners were KNU students Asel Balasagyn Rustamov and Begimai Mokeeva who won the grand prize of 50,000 som for their film "Autistic - Art and Children."


As noted by the event organizer and director of the “Hand in Hand” center for parents of autistic children, a full 1% of the world’s children suffer from autism. Estimates show that there could be up to 20,000 autistic children living in Kyrgyzstan.


Autism is a severe impairment of mental development that primarily affects the ability to communicate and interact socially.


Currently, “Hand in Hand” is the only specialized center for rehabilitation and treatment of autistic children in Kyrgyzstan. The center, which opened in 2012, trains parents and teaches about 30 autistic children. Due to a lack of specialists throughout the country, the rest of Kyrgyzstan’s autistic children receive treatment alongside patients with other psychiatric disorders.


Parents at the showing expressed hope that similar events will bring public attention to the lack of specialists, and the hope that the issue of autism in Kyrgyzstan will be addressed at the state level.