Foundation calls for support, empowerment of women, girls with autism

Kemi Barrow

THE Thoughtful House Autism Foundation, a Non-Governmental Organisation, on Monday called on Federal Government to support and empower women and girls with special needs to enable them reach their full potentials.

Kemi Barrow, Centre Director of the Organisation, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), in Abuja in commemoration of the World Autism Awareness Day.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that, the world Autism Awareness Day is celebrated annually by the United Nations on April 2 to advance the rights of individuals with autism.

World Autism Awareness Day with theme “ Empowering women and girls with autism’’ aims to put a spotlight on the hurdles that women and girls with autism face every day.

She said women and girls with disabilities were usually disadvantaged in the society whereby they were marginalised and denied access to education and care support in various communities.

“ “When it comes to girls with special needs, they usually do not complete their education thereby lacking access to services that will help improve their lives and wellbeing.

“”Women with disabilities are more likely to have rate of employment lower than the employment rate of men with disabilities.

“”We want government and organisations involved in making policies and taking decisions to address the challenges of women and girls with special needs in the country,’’ she said.

According to her, Autism is a developmental disorder that occurs on the spectrum that affects children and impairs their social, communication and cognitive abilities.

Barrow said the developmental impairment that children on the autism spectrum suffer can be traced to physiological imbalances, deficiencies in nutrients, vitamins among others.

She stated that children on autism spectrum do not manifest any outward physical signs of impairment and were known to struggle with their sensitivities.

She said some of the signs of autism included the inability to relate with children, poor or lack of speech, inappropriate laughter or crying, hyperactivity or passiveness, among others.

Barrow called on various stakeholders to work towards supporting families with autistic children to enjoy normal life regardless of their conditions.

“Our government, civil society groups, religious institutions and employers must work towards supporting families with autistic children.

Barrow stated that the management of autism includes a combination of various interventions such as special education, behavioral therapy, dietary, medical, nutrition and occupational interventions.

She said  that though the awareness of the condition had increased over the years but most kids on the spectrum stay indoors and are locked up at home by their parents.

Barrow urged the parents to seek early intervention while working with doctors and medical professionals who understand autism as there was no cure for the condition.

She advised parents with autistic children to understand and appreciate their children, adding that the best cure for autism was love.

“Please love your children and through your sacrificial love, strive to learn more about autism.

“Commit your time and resources to your child’s health and development and continue to trust in your creator.”

According to her, there is need for partnership to help establish effective autism programmes, as well as train teachers and others, who will work with them.

She further called on the medical experts to invest in becoming autism specialist in order to increase the domestic choices for treatment and reduce dependence on overseas treatment. (NAN)

– Apr. 3, 2018 @ 10:39 GMT


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