Autism is preventable in children -Ike Foundation Coordinator
*Social Workers pledge more support for victims, parents
Slow speech development and sluggish response to stimuli have been identified as the signs to watch out for in babies to prevent them from becoming autistic in life. Autism is one of the biggest pains of families today in the world.
Addressing a crowd that gathered at the end of the 2017 Walk to commemorate the World Autistic Awareness Week in Abuja yesterday, Programmes Manager, Ike Foundation for Autism, Mr. Joshua Anav also advised parents to seek medical help early to prevent full development of autism among toddlers.
According to him, “when a child shows signs early, parents are advised to seek medical assistance as soon as possible to prevent the child from becoming fully autistic in life.
“There are dedicated units in government hospitals where such cases are given urgent attention to help such children.
Speaking at the same event, Director, Ike Foundation for Autism, Mr. Hashim Dogara assured the gathering that the National Bureau for Statistics is currently working on figures and would soon release the number of Autistic
Nigerians among the population.
“When the National Bureau of Statistics releases official numbers of autistic Nigerians, we can then work closer with families with such challenges.
Autism Awareness Walk to mark the 2017 World Autism Awareness Week took place from the Unity Fountain to the Federal Secretariat Abuja in the early hours of the day.
World Autism Awareness Week (WAAW), is an internationally recognized week, where member states of the United Nations are encouraged to take measures to raise awareness about Autism Spectrum Disorder worldwide.
We need to unite in advocating for the right of children on the Autism Spectrum to essential services so as to reduce the pressure on parents, thereby helping all persons with autism achieve their full potential and lead productive lives.
Speaking in a separate interview, Mr Fela Bright, the west Africa Regional Vice President of the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) said: “parents have always been our major concern in the care and management of their children with disabilities, because it is easily a life-changing experience. As a professional body, we have been mobilising our members to providing support in all areas relating to child-care and services.
“This necessitated taking time out to address the challenges that parents, families and care givers face in managing their children and young adults with disabilities, regardless of the type or severity with a review of
setting up parent ‘havens’, providing safe environments.
According to Bright, a trained social worker, “a child who has autism be included in the society. They shouldn’t be neglected- that if detected early, that child can go to a regular school and can have a better life. We are also planning to set up a new centre. Our main aim is to tell Nigerians that autism is becoming an epidemic in the world. 1 in every 68 children, quoting the CDC in the United States, has autism. In Nigeria, we don’t know what the data is. We will like to change that.