Home for autistic children built on China's resort island

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Zhang Yanhua, secretary-general of the foundation, said the facility was China's first national-level therapy center for children with autism. It will mainly admit children from Hainan and those in the country's poor western regions.

A key to early intervention is therapy centers. Because children on the spectrum often struggle to keep up with their classmates, they benefit from attending centers where their specific needs can be attended to.

BEIJING, April 20 (Xinhua) -- A national-level therapy center for children with autistic disorders will soon open in China's southernmost resort island of Hainan.

China has about 2 million children with autism, according to research institute estimates.

No effective cure has been found.

The facility, run by the China Foundation for Disabled Persons and the Disabled Persons' Federation of Hainan, can accommodate 400 families at present and will be expanded to host up to 400 children in the future.

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder, characterized by varying degrees of impairment in communication skills and social interaction, and by restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior.

Autism was largely unknown to many Chinese until a few years ago. Successful awareness campaigns have led to increased funding and academic research on the disorder.

The (south) child autism therapy center, located in the coastal city of Haikou, will open its doors in May -- offering accommodation and treatment for children with autism, its operators said Friday.