Greensprings School has partnered Financial Initiative to create public awareness of autism, stressing that special needs children require love, support and opportunity to succeed.
Autism is a mental condition, present from early childhood, characterized by great difficulty in communicating and forming relationships with other people and in using language and abstract concepts.
Speaking during an awareness campaign held at Oworonshoki of Lagos State, Head of School, House, Dr. Kimberley Scollard said: “Today is the autism awareness place. We were invited to help support them with helping individuals understand what autism is, adding, ‘it is not a disease , it is something children can be successful with.”
She said: “Take a look at a lot of very successful people, especially in information technology, a lot of them are autistic. Just because a child has a need weather it is mental, physical or biological that doesn’t mean they can not do well.”
According to her, there are organizations around the world that only hire autistic individuals and train them because they are in the information technology.
Her words: “The people in this community have the opportunity to understand that all children are children and it doesn’t matter whether they are blind, deaf or have autism. Once again, love, support and opportunity are all they need. These are children like any other child across the face of the earth who needs love, support and opportunity.
“Often times, people are not aware of what specific needs they have. For example, if you have a broken leg or cancer, you can identify them, but when they have a specific learning disorder which falls under special needs, there is just a lot of misinformation.
“People don’t understand and when we don’t understand something, it frightens us. We have a lot of mess out there about things, so I think education in this area is what will actually change the game.
‘We need to start training teachers with the least basic information, understanding to catch them young. “When you see something in a young child, you keep watching to know what you are looking for. “I think Nigeria has come a long way, I am really impressed with the people I have met, I am so impressed with some of the teachers I have met, you have got good therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist and I think what we need do is to get the public support to understand.”
Meanwhile, Rachael Inegbedion, co-founder of Initiative Financial Growth said: “We are trying to raise awareness on Autism spectrum disorder.
Autism spectrum disorder is a disability that has to do with the brain. We want to let the community of Ironwork know that these children are actually intelligent and they can be useful if we maximize their productivity through health methods and other approaches. These children can become relevant in the society.
“We want to stop the stigmatization and marginalization that people encounter when they are in school. A lot of children go through bullying because of Autism, we want to eradicate that problem that is why we are coming together as a community to stop it, to say no to that. Children should be given equal opportunity to integrate to other children so they can become relevant in the society.”
On her part, Co-founder, Initiative Financial Growth, Olowo Omotoke Titilope who runs Autism awareness place, said her goal was to reach out to the grass root people.
She said: “I was born and brought up here (Oworonshoki) in this community and it is really sad that I continue to see children who should have become medical doctors, ambassadors living in the four walls of their home without access to school. “Our own is to create awareness in the school, community and see how people can come together and achieve an inclusive society.”