Autism Awareness Absent in Africa

n many countries there is widespread knowledge of Autism diagnosis and treatments and awareness is rising. However, in Nigeria there are tens of millions of parents that have yet to be informed about Autism Spectrum Disorder and the related symptoms that their child may be exhibiting.

Autism symptoms are unique in that they don’t always develop in the same order for all children but they usually manifest fully at around 24 months of age. Before 24 months, a parent may notice a lack of language entirely or some language and then long lapses in development from there on out. In Nigeria, there is a lack of a system to provide the necessary early diagnosis and support for children with ASD and their parents and, due to the lack of knowledge, many people end up attributing Autism symptoms to cultural or spiritual causes.

The Guaranty Trust Bank, GTBank, is planning to change this by raising awareness with the 5th edition of their Annual Autism programme. Their primary concern, according to the Managing Director of Guaranty Trust Bank, Seguin Agbaje, is to make it well known that “children with disability can live a meanaingful life and can rise to the highest levels in the pursuit of their dreams when given a chance to cultivate their inner skills and maximize their potentials.”

The GTBank will be hosting a conference with different classes facilitated by well-known professionals concerning ASD to further support their community and they are hopeful for a large attendance.

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