Notable Movement To Create Awareness On Autism In Nigeria

Exactly a year today, RBM Foundation kicked off a momentous initiative aimed to create awareness about Autism Globally especially in Nigeria, through education and care homes. Autism spectrum Disorder, ASD is a lifelong developmental disability that affects the way a person communicates and relates with people around them. Today, little or no attention is paid to various disabilities in Nigeria. Every year, thousands of children are born with autism in Nigeria. These children with autism are not diagnosed and managed on time; hence their family and society see them as a burden. Due to the inability of the parents and most health workers to detect children with autism early, they (children) suffer great health loss; some are even denied their right to basic needs of man. Some are isolated by their families due to the shame of having a child with intellectual/cognitive disability, while some suffer from the menace of cultural beliefs, superstitions and myths as they are labelled witches, imbeciles, fools as well as neglect and stigmatization among others. Since the establishment of this profound initiative, we have continuously used social media as a tool to create awareness about autism by sharing break-through stories of autists, dispelling common myths, recommending autism applications that focus on the social communication, emotional, language and organizational needs of children with autism, encouraging inclusive learning, and tips on fostering a valuable bond with an autist among others. Within a year, RBM Foundation also successfully hosted an Autism Awareness program in Girls High School Ukpor, Nnewi South Anambra State, Nigeria. Our mixed audience of students, parents and staff were optimally enlightened by our erudite orators. Ms. Maria Okafor (CEO RiaByMariaGrouplNC), Mr. Apiti Anthony Ahuruezenma (Lecturer Nnamdi Azikiwe University) and Professor Williams Obiozor(Director, Centre for Disability studies Nnamdi Azikiwe University) were our guest speakers for the program. The objective of the program was to reawaken people’s social consciousness about the plight and requirements of people living with Autism Spectrum Disorder. In celebration of the Global Autism Month, which occurs yearly in the month of April, we took to the streets, where we conducted series of interviews testing the knowledge of random individuals on autism and it’s challenges. The interviews conducted showed there’s still a lot of awareness to be done as many people are still not well versed in the subject matter. RBM Foundation is delighted to invite members of the public to our second official event, The Autism Awareness Walk. The program would take place on the 14th of May 2022 with Dr. Apiti Anthony and Rev Sis, Onwurah Chrysantus Chinyere (Phd.) as guest speakers for the day. Take-off point would be Aroma Junction (Ekwume Square) and stop point, Unizik Junction (Temp Site). The program promises to be insightful, educating and notable. In all, we are grateful for a fortuitous and successful first year and we are indeed optimistic for the years to come. We have embarked on an historic movement with no plans to stop till everyone in well acquainted with Autism Spectrum Disorder in Nigeria.


Maria Chikodili Okafor

Assistance in the Student Program

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