Autism in Peru Today – fashion shows, film and national support

The charitable organization “Siempre Amanecer” is holding its yearly fashion show on Monday, Oct. 28, in aid of its programs with children with Autism. This will be their fourth annual show to raise funds in aid of the a school for children with high functioning Autism, that was started in 2003.

The school was founded by Mirela Alfaro, a special needs teacher, who realized that there was no educational setting in Peru for children with autism. The school’s mandate was to help those from disadvantaged backgrounds in particular.  All the students , now over 100, pay subsidized fees, of about 60%.

Alfaro says:

“Through years of experience we have developed a very successful method in how to teach these children communication and social skills, while following the national curriculum.”

The Story of Luke,”  is a light comedy film about an autistic young man looking for love. It was written and directed by Alonso Mayo and received limited release earlier this year.  It was named Best Film at the 2012 San Diego Film Festival, 2013 Festivus Fil, Festival, and the Irvine International Festival.

It  is loosely based on Mayo’s own experience growing up. He says,

“Since I was a child, I was surrounded by people with special needs their parents and the professionals that served them because my mother runs an educational center for kids and adults with developmental delay in Peru, the Centro Ann Sullivan del Peru.

But just as I have seen many examples of discrimination and frustration. I have also seen examples of the exact opposite, of what happens when you stop looking as someone’s limitation, when you forget about what a certain person should realistically achieve and just treat them like anybody else.”

In April 2012, President Humala announced that his government would support autism awareness by saying,

“We must understand that a child with autism is not a problem but a blessing, he is part of our nature and we can not ignore a reality. We will join any campaign for children with autism,”