ABUJA – An NGO, Thoughtful House Foundation, on Sunday, appealed to the Federal Government to develop early intervention programmes for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder in the country.
Mrs Kemi Barrow, the co-founder of the organisation, made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
She said the plea became necessary in view of the challenges facing affected children in the society.
Barrow noted that the organisation had on April 5, organised an Autism Awareness Walk in Abuja to sensitise the public about the importance of taking issues on the disorder seriously by relevant stakeholders.
According to her, the challenges facing affected children include stigmatisation, the lack of funds, health-related issues and impaired social interaction.
“Autism is very expensive to deal with; talking about the therapy, the nutritional supplements and getting people who are specialists to work with the affected children.
“So, we look at these and we say we will subsidise the expenses of 12 children in our foundation but what about those affected children in the villages who are less privileged?.
“Since 2010, we have run a unique and highly differentiated autism education programme in Abuja that provides children with behavioural therapy and education, using a combination of effective intervention methods.
“Autism education and therapy require a lot of funds and the children enrolled in our programmes are subsidised by funds raised through donors and partners.’’
Barrow, therefore, urged the Federal Government and relevant stakeholders to ensure that the affected children were catered for via their parents so that they could be useful in future.
She also advised parents to look for signs of the disorder for early intervention and for easy management and attention.
Autism Spectrum Disorder is a range of complex neurodevelopment disorders, characterised by social impairments, communication difficulties, as well as restricted, repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behaviour.
Experts have estimated that one out of 88 children under eight years would have autism.
They also estimated that males are four times more likely to have it than females. (NAN