By Moses Nosike

Lagos  State government in collaboration with GTBank and other partners saw ability in Nigerian adult and children living with disabilities especially autism and so decided to provide awareness that could help their families and society harness their God-given potentials like any other Nigerians who can communicate normal.

This awareness which was initiated by GTBank 7 years ago cut the attention of Lagos State government which didn’t hesitate to expand and participate on this awareness and other partners at least to bring relief to many families whose children are living with disabilities especially autism.

The one week programme which attracted  huge number of  children diagnosed with autism had also medical experts, consultants from US and others who conducted the screenings and made necessary recommendations.

Representative of the Lagos State government at the autism awareness in Lagos, Special Adviser on Social Development to His Excellency Governor Ambode, Mrs. Joyce Onafowokan, said, “actually what we have done was to identify, diagnose and tell parents where they can receive services. We also advised parents to find out what is wrong with the child so that steps can be taken for solution.

I’m was amazed with the number of people who came from different places and all walks of lives because disability cut across social, economic leathers etc. I’m surprised with the turn out of people everyday through out the exercise. With this exercise, we have been able to ascertain some form of date of the affected children and know who has what.

Even though is autism, people  came with different disabilities and we couldn’t drive them away. For me it’s important because I had a mandate from His Excellency Governor Ambode to  put the programme in place that would drive the need of these children and families”.

In addition, Director, Patrick Speech & Languages Centre, Dr. Dotun Akande said that we’re proud that Lagos state has come into the programme and done a very big service. “ You can’t come in when you don’t know the origin. So, this programme on autism was born out of the fact that therapy is the way out it; we have also seen families given different kinds of disabilities services and all that.

That was what led to this collaboration in order to support some families dearly. When families tell us the challenges they are facing, we now find a way to support them because not everybody affected you can take to the centre. Lagos has done well because after GTB has gone back to its normal banking business for another year, Lagos can support mini collaboration so we can see those with the challenges on a quarterly basis. I believe with the way we are going now, there is hope for the victims”.

In the same vein, Managing Director, Prefix Communications, Sade Okogwu, whose daughter suffered autism but was corrected after taken  her to the US and necessary therapies administered on her, advised parents that after diagnosis, there is need for early intervention in order to minimise the effect of autism. “However, If you are able to catch it early, the child can do well in his potential.

Again, parents should take advantage of every single information that is available. Research also enables parents help the child to certain level even though the therapies are expensive. Don’t cage them indoors”.

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