Volunteers in Shanghai provide support to children with infantile autism
Alocal group of volunteers who call themselves “Star Protectors” recently visited a charitable intelligence training center in Shanghai that specializes in helping autistic children.
Their work at the center includes taking care of kids with infantile autism, preparing teaching tools, cleaning and assisting in themed activities.
The team leader Tang Xuye told the Global Times that their group was established in May of this year by the cultural and sports center of Nanxiang town in Jiading district of Shanghai.
Thus far the team has over 30 members, each who joined the team spontaneously. The volunteers are mostly from Nanxiang town.
Tang added that the volunteers are divided into eight groups, and the groups visit the charitable center twice a week during lunch hours.
To properly serve local autistic children, the volunteers are given professional training before their service. One volunteer surnamed Gu told the Global Times that it was her first time to participate in this kind of activity.
“I saw the call for volunteers online and I felt these children needed my help. They remind me of my own children. I hope I can do something nice for them in my spare time,” she said.
Another volunteer surnamed Wang said that prior to her service she was unfamiliar with autism, thinking such children suffered psychological illnesses.
After her training and volunteering experience, Wang learned that infantile autism is not a “disease” but in fact an incurable disorder caused by genetic abnormalities.
Wang added that autistic kids not only are incapable of properly communicating with people, but they also tend to scream and hurt themselves when upset.
As autistic children are afraid of being touched by strangers, the volunteers currently only offer logistical services as opposed to handson help.
But they hope that, in the future, they can gradually interact with these children, play with them and become friends.
Staff at the training center help autistic children exercise.
Above: A volunteer helps clean up at the center; Left: The “Star Protectors”
Above: A volunteer accompanies a child during afternoon nap; Left: A heart decoration hangs in a classroom at the training center; Below: A volunteer helps out during lunchtime.