The NIA Academy Campus, dedicated to adults and adolescents with autism, received the final approval for construction, in Bolintin-Vale
Bucharest, March 20, 2023: The NIA Association, established with the aim of integrating and accepting neurodivergents in Romania, announces the launch, in partnership with the Giurgiu County Council, of the first large-scale project in Romania that will offer solutions and support for a decent life, for adults and adolescents with autism and their families. Located in the city of Bolintin-Vale, Giurgiu County, on an area of 10,000 square meters, this campus will offer specialized therapy and care programs, social activities and educational opportunities, as well as residential services for adolescents and adults with autism.
According to the US CDC study conducted in 2021[i], approximately 1 in 44 children have various forms of autism, and the incidence is increasing year by year. In Romania, there are no conclusive statistics, even less among adults, many of whom live in isolation. A simple extrapolation in the near future, however, only for Giurgiu county, based on the study above, can mean around 6000 people with autism, among them 5000 adults and at least 1500 adults with mild forms of autism.
“I strongly believe in the right of every person with autism to benefit from the necessary support to reach their full potential and I am a promoter for an inclusive society. We are confident in the power of this partnership to improve lives and we rely on close cooperation with the City Hall of Bolintin Vale, with the local authorities and with the whole community to make this goal a reality”, said Steluța Moisescu, President of the NIA Neurodiversity Academy Association.
After the age of 18, people with autism in Romania no longer benefit from specific services within the public social insurance system or within the education system and “disappear” from a statistical point of view. Under the current system, the diagnosis of autism is replaced by a mental illness or mental disorder, and in this way the needs and interests of autistic people, especially those with severe autism, are seriously impaired, ultimately leading to significant impairment of health, quality of life and the drastic decrease in life expectancy.
The solution proposed by The NIA Association (constituted especially for this purpose) is the construction of a residential community and sheltered workshops, an innovative project in Romania, a hand extended to parents who have teenagers, young people or even neurodivergent adults in their care.
“The Giurgiu County Council is a strong supporter and actively involved in projects of a social nature. We understand how much support is lacking today for adults with autism and their families, and this campus will be an important resource for them. We encourage the members of the community and the business environment of Giurgiu County to support this initiative, unique and noble at the same time, for the good of a group of people strongly affected, not promoted and supported today”, said Dumitru Beianu, President of the Giurgiu County Council.
Daniel Trăistaru, the mayor of Bolintin-Vale, said: “The development of the NIA Campus is a significant stage for our community. People with autism and their families face major challenges, and most of those who are already or will end up in this situation will find the right solution within the radius of the city of Bolintin-Vale. It is an innovative and complex project and I am confident in its positive social and economic impact, on the lives of those with autism, their families or supporters, as well as for the local community”.
Mihai Tomescu, President of the National Authority for the Protection of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities stated: “As a representative of the ANPDPD, I welcome and congratulate this initiative to create a safe and welcoming space, with high standards, designed to meet the unique needs of people with autism and to encourage the development of skills for an independent life. We recognize and encourage the significant benefits of public-private partnerships in this area, in order to develop a network of social services of excellence to serve adults with autism spectrum disorders. I hope that this project will become a model of good practice and a benchmark for all social service professionals. “
“Supporting individuals and families affected by autism presents unique and complex challenges and as a parent of a server autistic teenager I fully understand this. On behalf of the members of the NIA Neurodiversity Academy association, I thank the families, specialists, local community, business environment, authorities, everyone who chooses to support, promote and circulate through their voice and actions this path-breaking project, with care for the life of adults and adolescents with autism and for an inclusive society”, concluded Steluța Moisescu, President of the NIA Neurodiversity Academy.