The The Initiative for National Growth Africa in joint partnership with The Autism Awareness Place conducted a community awareness walk on Autism Spectrum Disorders on the 1st of December 2018 at about 9am within Oworonshoki, Kosofe Local Government Area. The active demonstration walk was embarked to create awareness to families, caregivers and children living within the environs of Oworonshok, Lagos State, Nigeria to properly senstize the community that Autism spectrum disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by social impairments, communication difficulties and restricted, repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behaviour. This walk objectives and goals was to eradicate stigmatization , promote inclusiveness and equal opportunities for people living with mental disabilities in anticipation towards the international world disabilities day on the 3rd of December, 2018.
Autism condition is caused by series of challenges with the brain and that occurs at the early stage of life. The symptoms to look out for in Children includes hand flapping, repeatedly Head bangs, withdrawn from others which could last hours depending on the severity of the Autism, lack of response to voice or sound, does not respond to names, lacks eye contact, missing speech milestones or not making basic sentences, problem with food, textures or clothing sensory issues as well as other behavioural and mental disabilities.
During the cause of the walk, majority of the members of the Autism walk spoke in native dialects related to Hausa, Igbo, Yoroba, Pidgin English to better convey the meaning of Autism spectrum disorder to the Oworonshoki community as well as invite them to the Autism Inclusive Conference with the flyers which took place on the 8th of December 2018 at La Roche Leadership Foundation Gbagada Hospital.
The Autism Conference provided health developmental support for parents amd teachers of children with Autism spectrum disorder and their children living with autism through the “parents/caregivers support system”. The Autism Inclusive Walk and Conference was proudly supported by Sifax Group, Codix, Lagos State AIDS Control Agency, La Roche Leadership Foundation and other educational and professional institutions.
Executive members of Autism Walk community development project in the persons of Racheal Inegbedion the Team Lead of the Initiative for National Growth Africa, Amdi Salam the Creative Director of the Initiative for National Growth Africa, Wonu Akintunde the Financial Director of the Initiative for National Growth Africa, Amanda Obidike the Administration Head of the Initiative for National Growth, Omotoke Titi Olowo the Team Lead of the Autism Awareness Place, Prisca Onuegbu, Kemi Amusat Monsura.
Various organisations and institutions joined in the cause of this sensitization walk : The head school of the greenspring schools - Anthos House, Dr.Kimberly Scollard and members of staffs, the Red Cross Nigeria Society in the persons of Patience Okpara and Egbe Joseph were present, Beadgod Kelly Daniel Oshiogwemue, Musa Olatunji, Temitope Funsho Olowo, Nelson Izah, Bami Femi, Ayomide Oluwatoke Ogunkeye and other volunteers members, the Local Government counsellors Kosofe - Ward A and B in the persons of Honourable Adewale Omofojoye and Honourable Kehinde Saliu respectively.
The walk started from Olopomeji, ekore, olorunfunmi, mabawonku, Adebanwo, Abiola, and ended at junction bus stop with pictures and video seasions, networking and coaching with parents and the Oworonshoki community dwellers.
Racheal Inegbedion fortresses that as a community, it is our sole responsibility to support the mental and physical interests of children living with Autism spectrum disorder, help them connect with others who have autism, teach them how to defend against sensory stimuli, embrace their coping mechanism and lastly educate them of their state of mind to become relevant in the society.
That's why the Initiative for National Growth and the Autism Awareness Place organized the Community Development Project to help correct the wrong and improve the neurological and physical stability of children living with autism spectrum disorder along side their parents, caregivers and families.
No child deserves to be marginalised or stigmatised as a result of his or her neurological development, Awareness campaigns like the Oworonshoki Autism Community Walk are peaceful demonstrations of supporting, educating and empowering families with Autistic children to enable their children become relevant and productive through enhanced social ,behavioral and communication skills.
Together, we can re-write the wrong and provide a healthy lifestyle for autistic children and families!