STAR PRO­TEC­TORS

Vol­un­teers in Shang­hai pro­vide sup­port to chil­dren with in­fan­tile autism

Global Times – Metro Shanghai - - CITY PANORAMA - Page Ed­i­tor: chen­[email protected]­al­times.com.cn

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.

Hands-off help

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.

Pho­tos: Yang Hui/GT

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.

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