Mr Rotimi Oguneso, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), has called on the Federal Government to support children with autism and other special needs in Nigeria.
Oguneso, who made the call at the 2019 OLG Health Foundation Cultural Day Celebration on Sunday in Abuja, stressed that there was no platform presently to support children with special needs in the country.
“The world is moving very fast, in developed countries children with special needs contribute to the growth and development of their nations, but we cannot say the same here.
”They still stigmatise children with special needs in this part of the world, they have not been accepted fully in the society and the society does not recognise their talents.
”For example, my child with special need can spot something faster than some children.
”Like if I am going to work, he will always remind me of something that I have forgotten, because he knows I am supposed to go to work with that particular thing.
”I have been able to know so much and read wide that is why I give my child with special need the best, since he started his school and therapy it has been very easy.
”He even travelled to Glasgow for a programme and he performed very well; all these children need is a society that works,” he said.
Oguneso, who urged the government to brace up and begin to act well, advised parents of children with special needs to give them all the support they need rather than hide them at home.
Mr Eludiwura Olayemi, Engineer, NigComSat, said it was difficult raising a child with special needs as they could not express themselves.
”Before my son started attending OLG Health Foundation, he could not express himself, it was really difficult, like if he wants to urinate, he will not be able to tell anyone.
”But within a space of six months, things became different and he is doing well now, he can talk and express himself very well. The foundation is also very affordable,” he said.
The Chairman, Board of Trustees, OLG Health Foundation, an NGO, Mr Chidi Izuwah said autism is the fastest growing serious developmental disability in the world.
Izuwah said it was present in all races and classes of people, and that it affected as many as one in every 68 children.
According to him, the aim of the foundation is to ensure that every child or adult affected by autism or other developmental challenge is given the opportunity to reach his or her full potential.
Dr Doris Izuwah, Clinical Director OLG Health Foundation, said autism has no known cause at the moment, but environmental factors, not attending antenatal during pregnancy or prolonged labour could lead to autism.
Izuwah also urged parents of children with special needs not to give up on their kids, and that perseverance was key to defeating the defect.