By Dennis Agbo
A United States-based behaviour analyst, Mrs Dicta Ndolo, has asked parents of children with autism not to be ashamed, but to seek for solution for their disabilities.
She said that autism is just a behaviour disorder and not a disease, adding that the disability can be worked on for the affected person to join society and attain his or her fullest potential.
Ndolo, currently creating autism awareness in Enugu, told Vanguard in an interview that the signs to look out for to spot a child with autism are communication, social behaviours and speech challenges.
Speaking on her autism awareness seminar scheduled for July 6 at Bush House Arena, Enugu and road walk for July 13, she encouraged parents to seek behaviour experts to offer help to their children with such disability, noting that Microsoft CEO, Mr Bill Gates, was an autistic person, yet he was able to climb to the pinnacle of his career.
Ndolo said: “Autism is a developmental, neurological disability that affects one in 87 children and for every five kids affected, four of them are boys and one is a girl.
“If they don’t get the help they need, they grow up into an adult with autism and being an adult with autism is not a terrible thing, except if the child is very heavily affected.
“There are three major characteristics of autism and there are minor ones. The major ones are difficulty in communication, difficulty with social skills and difficulty with a sensory response.
“Difficulty in communication means that some of them may not be able to speak or when they speak, you may not be able to understand their pronunciation.
“Some of them may not be able to understand spoken language and they have to use gestures and sign language.
“Some talk, but may have an issue with volume. Some scream, others whisper. On social skills, as children, they don’t play with anybody; they stay on their own; they don’t play appropriately with toys.
“It’s not anything to be ashamed of. I am urging parents to stop hiding these children.”