The Oworonshoki Autism Awareness and Inclusion Walk Project (Lagos State, Nigeria)

Rachyrae
Posted January 3, 2019

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 The symptoms to look out for in Children includes hand flapping, repeatedly Head bangs, withdrawn from others which could last hours depending on the severity of the Autism,  lack of response to voice or sound,  does not respond to names, lacks eye contact,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! 

 

 

This post was submitted in response to What Gives You Hope?.

Comments 13

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Hannah B
Jan 03
Jan 03

Thank you for sharing about this walk and great initiative!
Have you been working on issues surround autism for a long time? I would love to hear more about your experiences and perspective from Nigeria.
Do families of children with autism have much opportunity for education and support?
Warmly,
Hannah

Rachyrae
Jan 03
Jan 03

Yes we have been working on Autism Spectrum Disorders for a while now. To be frank with you, a lot of parents and families lack understanding and knowledge about it. There is no early medical intervention when a child is born with autism, sometimes they attend mainstream schools with normal kids and are bullied or isolated because of their lack of social and communication skills. Teachers are not educated and sometimes refer these children to spiritual affairs. That was why we saw the need to sensitize the community of Autism and it's health approaches.

As for wealthy and privileged families of children with Autism spectrum disorders who have access to early medical intervention, they have easy access to opportunities to grant educational and medical intervention to their autistic children. It's far worse for a mother in an undeserved community as this Oworonshoki community who has little or no access to medical and educational intervention for her autistic child. That is why we had the Oworonshoki Autism Walk awareness and the following weekend , we conducted the Autism Inclusion Conference for families and teachers to learn and leaverage on the various health approaches and skills that could be used to maximize the productivity of children living with autism.

Though, this year, we are open for more collaborations and partnerships from local and international bodies , so that together we can reach out to more rural communities where this challenge is prevalent.

jlanghus
Jan 04
Jan 04

Hi Racheal,

Thanks for sharing more about your walk and conference:-) Good luck with your story submission!

Rachyrae
Jan 04
Jan 04

Thank you so much

jlanghus
Jan 05
Jan 05

You're welcome, dear:) Hope you have a great day!

Anita Kiddu Muhanguzi

HI Rachyrae,

Thank you for sharing about the autism awareness walk. It is very inspiring that as Africans we are appreciating children living with Autism, something that was strange many years ago. Looking forward to learning and hearing about your experience in Nigeria.
Have a lovely day

Rachyrae
Mar 24
Mar 24

Thank you so much Anita. I on the other am looking forward to exchanging ideas and actions to people like you. Together we can change the narrative.

Tola Makinde
Mar 01
Mar 01

Well done Rachael.

Rachyrae
Mar 24
Mar 24

Thank you so much Sis. I appreciate this

Beth Lacey
Mar 07
Mar 07

I hope your walk was successful

Rachyrae
Mar 24
Mar 24

It was truly impactful. The community feedback was how we measured our impact. Thank you so much Beth.

Continue doing it...

Rachyrae
Mar 24
Mar 24

Thank you Nnena, I am most grateful.