As parts of efforts to impact on the lives of children living with Autism Disorder in Nigeria and also raise awareness for the genetic disorder, foremost African financial institution, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, will today begin the 5th edition of its Annual Autism Programme with the theme: “Bridging Gaps and Transforming Lives”.
The advocacy programme which will end tomorrow, Wednesday July 1, 2015, is designed to create awareness and provide support for children with developmental disabilities especially Autism Spectrum Disorder( ASD). The event which also aimed at stopping stigmatization about the disorder will start with a 2-day conference at the Muson Centre, Onikan, Lagos, followed by a 7-day child assessment clinic from July 2-10, 2015 at the Sickle Cell Foundation Centre ,IdIAraba, Lagos as well as a Radio Talk Series, tagged: “Let’s Talk Autism”.
The programme is part of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) of GTBank under its Orange Ribbon Initiative which began in 2009 to support children with special needs. According to the bank, ASD affects 1 in every 150 children around the world and is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with others. Addressing a press briefing in Lagos yesterday, Managing Director of the bank, Mr. Segun Agbaje, said , recognising the challenge posed by Autism in educational development of children, GTBank has over the years partnered with various stakeholders and practitioners , including the University of Lagos College of Medicine, Blazing Trails Internationals, Ministries Health and Women Affairs to increase awareness about Autism in Nigeria.theunion.
Agbaje stated: “we believe that, children, irrespective of developmental disorders can rise to the highest levels in the pursuit of their dreams when given a chance to cultivate their innate skills and maximize their potentials .Society on the other hand, has a role to play in providing an atmosphere for children living with ASD to thrive.
As a bank, we will continue to provide support for parents , teachers and care givers of children with ASD through our annual Autism programme.”
“The 2015 programme assumes a rather broader spectrum in expanding existing research on ASD through the theme “Bridging Gaps and Transforming Lives”. The idea behind this year’s theme, encompasses a broad array of concepts which goes beyond creating awareness for ASD to include increasing social justice education, helping individuals with special needs participate in the political process and providing access to technology for people affected with ASD”, he noted.
According to him ,the programme will feature other initiatives such as behavioural training, teaching of non-verbal children functional communication and management of autism disorder.
The Managing Director called on parents and care givers of children living with ASD to attend the event and be educated on how well to cater for these children so that they can live a fulfilled life , adding that attendance is free.
He noted that the conference will feature different classes focusing on diverse areas of the management of ASD as nutritionists, psychologists, educationists and medical practitioners will facilitate all the classes