On 21st of November 2018, a delegation of the Estonian Autism Society (EAS) met the President Kersti Kaljulaid. During this constructive meeting, they discussed about possible ways of cooperation to make the Estonian society more open and allow autistic people to lead more fulfilling lives.
They agreed that all people in society have to put efforts into making the world more positive. The EAS shared the experiences of people with autism living in the country and the President promised to always be there to support a better understanding of autism.
Kersti Kaljulaid: “We have talked about how to help and support people with autism to cope for more than 25 years now, since the Estonian Autism Society was founded, says Marianne Kuzemtshenko, the Chairwoman of the board of the Estonian Autism Society. However we still face the challenge that children do not get the support they need because of lack of timely diagnosis. Families that are afraid of the impact of a possible diagnosis also have a role to play. They feel embarrassed and guilty, although they should not feel this way in any case. These feelings are the result of a wall of silence, behind which we have hidden ourselves as a society rather than talking about complicated topics.
The earlier a child gets the diagnosis of autism, the better the child’s prognosis for future development will be. I wish the families the courage and the strength to deal with life’s greatest challenge. I want us to be strong and open as a community to support families and our slightly different people – autistic people do not want to be just recipients of support, but want to contribute according to their abilities.”
EAS President Marianne Kuzemtšenko hopes that, together with the support of the president, they can raise public awareness of autism and contribute to the earliest possible intervention. “For persons on the autism spectrum and their families, acceptance at all levels is crucial. It will allow us to better support them through understanding and cooperation”, she highlighted.