First Care Facility for Autistic Children in Iran

No facilities that operate under the Education Ministry exist in Iran and children with autism are either marginalized or find it very difficult to cope in the society
 There is no medical detection or cure as it still isn’t clear what causes the disorder.
 There is no medical detection or cure as it still isn’t clear what causes the disorder.

The first care center for autistic people that will operate round the clock has been inaugurated under the auspices of the Kahrizak Charity Foundation (KCF).

"It will house children and adults whose families don't have the means or necessary training to look after them," said Afshin Vojdani-Roshan, head of the foundation's Kahrizak Charity Care Center, ILNA reported.

"The center's autism team is well-trained to take care of children with neurological disorders," he said.

The care center includes a day care facility and one that operates round the clock. Services include occupational therapy for mental and physical rehabilitation, and speech therapy. The physically and mentally challenged will also be trained in hand-eye coordination in basic stages of the therapeutic program.

"A total of 18 autistic children have been selected for the first round of rehabilitative and educational courses, three of whom are in day care, and the remaining 15 in the 24/7 center," said Vojdani-Roshan.

Autism spectrum disorder is the name for a group of developmental disorders including a wide range of symptoms, skills, and levels of disability such as ongoing social problems, difficulty communicating, repetitive behaviors, and limited interests or activities.

The neurological disorder is usually graded in severity along a spectrum. It causes problems with thinking, feeling, language, and relating to others. Around 1% of the world population has autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to

Autism now affects 1 in 180 children and is five times more common in boys. Its prevalence figures are growing and have tripled over the past decade.

There is no medical detection or cure as it still isn’t clear what causes the disorder. Also, autism is far more likely to affect boys than girls, a fact that is still unexplained. But cost of lifelong care can be reduced by 2/3 with early diagnosis and intervention.

Challenges in Iran

In Iran, the main issues are lack of resources and support for families.

Autistic children and adults have it difficult as the country still lags behind global standards in terms of education of the general public and provision of facilities for autistic people. At times, it takes families a long time, such as when their children reach teenage years or adulthood, to realize the problem. This is due to lack of efficient screening or awareness. Globally, the average age of diagnosis of autism is 4 years of age.

In early October, the Rehabilitation Services Department at the State Welfare Organization (SWO) said it was planning to execute a project in the second half of the current Iranian year (began in March) to provide families of autistic children with home support as well as respite services to parents.

Under a SWO initiative, early diagnosis, intervention and instructional strategies for parents are being provided through an online screening program via standardized questionnaires. If there are any indications of symptoms among their children they will be examined and treated by a team of clinical psychologists, occupational therapists, speech therapists and tutors.

There is no official estimate of Iran's autistic population, though the SWO says the number of diagnoses is rising.

World over, there are special day care centers and educational facilities for children with autism since they have special needs that cannot be met in regular schools.

But there are no such facilities in Iran that operate under the Education Ministry and children with autism are either marginalized or find it very difficult to cope in the society. The April 2 Educational Facility, named after the International Autism Awareness Day, is the only NGO based in Tehran that provides education services to children with ASD but does not offer counseling or other means of support.

NGO Fate in Limbo

In early November, reports that the Iranian Autism Association was pulling down its shutters due to lack of funding and support, went viral on the internet. The NGO is the only one that offers families with autistic members counseling services and support.

It took only hours before artists, public figures, and TV and cinema personalities called on people to raise money for the organization to continue running but the fate of the association is still in limbo.

Founded in 1971, KCF is a private, non-governmental, non-profit, charitable organization where physically handicapped or elderly individuals with no financial resources are cared for, free of charge.

On October 29, 2013 on the occasion of World Children's Day, Kahrizak Charity Care Center opened a medical clinic, a rehabilitation center and a care facility for children under the age of 14.

There are now two known charity centers in Iran for mentally disabled children: Shiraz Narjes in Fars Province and Kahrizak in Tehran.

KCF currently has a campus covering 101 acres with 160,000 square meters of built-up area. A total of 500 male and 1100 female patients reside in 22 separate units. About two thirds of the patients are elderly and one third, physically disabled.



Reall I appreciate the charity work done by this group. Helping the children is a great job.

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