Campaign to add color to autism awareness

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 08.04.2016 00:50

Eighth Color, a new project aiming to raise awareness of autism and garnering charitable support to provide help for autistic citizens, will be launched today at a ceremony that will be attended by Emine Erdoğan, the wife of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Organized by Hasan Kalyoncu University, the project brings together dozens of celebrities for the care of autistic people, with numbers of people on the autism spectrum in Turkey estimated at around 650,000.

Celebrities contributed to the preparation of a coloring book with scenes from their favorite films, and Turkish pop star Mustafa Ceceli will perform today in a charitable concert. Funds raised from the concert and sales of the book will be used for the care of autistic individuals.

Hasan Kalyoncu University is a higher-education institution catering to those with autism. It is among the few universities to offer vocational training for teachers for special needs children and has a special care home for 34 autistic youth.

Eighth Color, conceived in 2015, aims to raise awareness of the plight of autistic individuals, who account for approximately 4 percent of the population in most countries. The project seeks to fund the opening of care and education centers for autistic youth in every region of Turkey. Some 50 celebrities are contributing to the project, viewed as the biggest social responsibility project in Turkey.

Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, is a developmental brain disorder which affects sufferers' social interaction and communication. The exact cause is unknown and it does not have any cure, although early education to improve the communication and interaction skills of those diagnosed with autism helps to improve their lives.

Turkey has offered special education for autistic children since 1995, but access to education remains limited as most autistic children live isolated from society, according to several non-profit organizations.

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