Kenyan Coast; a region where Autism is “Witchcraft”

Kenyan Coast; a region where Autism is “Witchcraft”

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Research shows 1 in 91 children have Autism.

Kilifi, KENYA: On April 2nd Kenya and the world marked the 8th year of awareness on  Autism; a disease that has for a long time been associated with witchcraft especially in the coast region.

To some it is a condition manifested in children after they are offered as a sacrifice to demons by their parents in exchange of wealth, as others simply regard it as a curse from their gods.

It is these myths and lack of information on the condition that has resulted to mothers with children suffering from Autism to undergo so much scorn from the society.

Karen Mndeye, a mother of a child who suffers from Autism, says myths and legends have been the order of the day in countering the disease.

“People say all sorts of things that can make you cry, Some say you are evil and you have offered your child as a sacrifice to money making demons.” Said Mndeye.

Mndeye says she cried each and every time such sentiments were made by people who accused her.

“It is so sad but you just have to be strong for your child,” added Karen who says her twins encountered autism in 2009.

She says at first she thought her baby was ok but when they took the child to hospital that is when she learnt of the disorder.

Like many parents she did not know how to manage her child’s condition.

“He had difficulty in communication and as time went by it even escalated into other complications. As we speak he is now deaf and dumb so he has to depend on me for everything.” adds Karen.

Through research and medical advice Karen told Baraka FM that she has now learnt on how to take care of her child.