By EBELE ONUORAH
In view of the prevailing lack of societal awareness about Autism Spectrum Disorders(ASD) in Nigeria and insufficient existence of training facilities for affected children, Guaranty Trust Bank wants government at all levels to show greater commitment in creating awareness on Autism by creating inclusive schools for affected children and integration centres for adults as well as come up with a legislation which will protect the rights and provide support for people with developmental disabilities.
Speaking during GTB’s Orange Ribbon annual Autism Seminar 2012, themed: “Pathways to Early Diagnosis, Intervention and Lifelong Care”, Deputy Governor, Lagos state, Hon. Adejoke Orelope Adefulire said government has priority to ensure they are given hope and support.”
Exective Director, GT Bank, Wale Oyedeji, said: “We have the support of 11 facilitators from the United States of America, all in the field and care for autistic children and with practical steps for teaching children living with this disability. If they cannot learn the way we teach, we need to teach them the way they learn.”
Member, House of Representatives, Hon. Jerry Alagbaoso said, “I am not a medical personnel neither do I have an autistic person in my family but I never appreciated the financial burden, inconveniences, restlessness, associated with managing autistic children until few years ago when I visited a friend with two autistic children.”
“You can now imagine the cost in all its ramifications of managing about 1.2 million Nigerians reported to be living with autism,” he noted.
Anna Lamikanra, Executive Director, Blazing Trails International Centre, who dismissed the notion that autistic children are imbeciles, advised the public to shun discrimination and stigmatisation of autistic children.