Local May 24, 2023 | 8:34 am

Kongland scandal justifies law to protect people with autistism in the Dominican Republic

Santo Domingo.- The absence of proper regulations for autism in the country has been highlighted by journalist Fernando Quiroz, the coordinator of the Dialogue Table for Autism. He asserts that the recent case involving Elizabeth Silverio and the Kogland Center for Neurocognitive Therapies and Psychopedagogies underscores the urgent need for legislation that regulates autism and ensures the state’s responsibility in providing care, inclusion, and protection for individuals with autism.

The absence of effective regulations extends beyond cases of abuse and deception. Quiroz expresses concern about authorities failing parents in the areas of health, social security, and education, leaving them feeling deceived and helpless. Many parents resort to loans to afford care at such centers, only to discover later that their child’s condition has worsened due to inappropriate medication and therapies being offered.

What is even more distressing is that these irregularities often come to light only when exposed by the media, as the State lacks the capacity to ensure proper oversight in the delicate field of neurodevelopment. This not only puts the child’s health at risk but also places an emotional burden on the parents.

Quiroz emphasizes the urgent need for legislation and highlights a bill for the Inclusion, Care, and Protection of People with Autism currently being discussed in the National Congress. The bill has already been approved in two readings in the Senate and one reading in the Chamber of Deputies. It includes specific provisions for sanctions against negligent medical practices, including imprisonment and fines.

The proposed law aims to safeguard the rights of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in various aspects. It emphasizes the importance of early and accurate diagnosis, specialized clinical evaluations, access to quality healthcare and treatments, appropriate education and training based on integration and inclusion criteria, and the provision of pedagogical evaluations to support independent living.

Quiroz’s advocacy for proper legislation underscores the necessity of a comprehensive legal framework to protect the rights and well-being of individuals with autism, as well as to ensure that they receive the necessary support and services they require.

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