By GIFT Gabriel
An association of parents with children suffering from autism, Parents Against Autism Initiative, PAAI, has appealed to the Federal government to consider the need to urgently restructure various inclusion units across the country.
Mrs.Angela Emuwa, President, PAAI, who spoke on the observance of April as month for Autism Awareness, bemoaned the deplorable state of government-owned inclusion units across the country.
She said: “Most of them are poorly staffed, hence, they cannot help children that have autism. You find units with over a 100 children of different ages and challenges, with only four teachers. In the end, the place just becomes like a care centre where the children go to sit down without learning anything since children with autism particularly need one-on-one therapy. Unfortunately, these families cannot afford to send their children to privately-owned special schools!”
Speaking in like-mind, Mrs.Dotun Akande, Treasurer, PAAI, and Founder, Patrick Speech & Language School, explained that children with autism are not mentally retarded but only need therapy to overcome the developmental disorder to reintegrate into mainstream society.
Stating examples of world famous inventors such as Bill Gates who had autism, Akande said every child with autism is highly skilled in different areas, but that such skills may not be properly harnessed unless they undergo therapy.
Mrs.Bolanle Adewole, a member of PAAI, however emphasised the need for early intervention, disclosing that her own son overcame the developmental disorder and had joined regular school because she started therapy early.