|Pope Francis extends his hands to a child with autism.
Last Saturday, during the international conference on autism hosted by the Vatican, Pope Francis spoke about the importance of hope for children and families affected by the condition.
The pope encouraged people around the world, especially governments and institutions, to break “‘the isolation, and in many cases also the stigma" associated with autism, which is characterized by varying levels of social impairment and communication difficulties.
The pope advocated for those suffering from autism and other spectrum disorders, saying, "It is necessary, the commitment of everyone, in order to promote encounters and solidarity, in a concrete action of support and renewed promotion of hope.”
The pope’s words touched everyone in the audience, especially families of those affected by autism.
"It was an explosion of emotions," said Maria Cristina Fiordi, a mother of a child with autism. "For us, we are parents of a child affected with autism, this meeting was very important. It was as an outstretched hand through a problem that is very often not considered in the right way."
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