I was reading a book a while back about a mother with a special needs child. She lamented about how people would see her with her baby and walk up to her with smiles and happiness but this would quickly change to pity when they realized that her baby had Down syndrome. She absolutely HATED this. Reading the comments this was echoed by a lot of other mothers including those with autistic children. They felt that there was nothing wrong with their children that they should receive pity. And they are right. In Africa, autism is often undiagnosed in children and this leads to cases of children being in situations that one would term as child abuse. It is not uncommon for them to be locked away and hidden at home, beaten severely by their parents for their behaviours, tied up and left alone while their family is out, or be ignored and pushed aside. In many cases, it is associated with curses or witchcraft. It also doesn't help that many clinicians in poorer areas are unable to spot the signs and centres dedicated to autism are few and often very far away.