Autism in Ghana: Injustice and Ignorance
October 5, 2016
Having a child with autism, in Ghana, is viewed by most people as a curse on the family, or worse, the mother is still classified as a witch; mother and child are avoided by society. No one wants to know or care about them. Many people are not seeking the necessary aid that they need; instead they are hiding their autistic children at home, locking them up in their rooms, and denying their basic human rights.
Family is the first main cause in Ghanaian society, and also is the biggest offender of this terrible act, and second, some churches just want to exorcise this “demon” away.
The level of ignorance is unacceptable, and that what led to this horrible situation. Sadly today, even among the well known disability groups in Ghana, autism as a disability isconsidered to be a lesser disability. The interventions in communication for autism include in many cases picture exchange communication and sign language for those who are non-verbal and also to help those who cannot verbally express themselves properly. There are also sensory imbalances which make them candidates for a combination of visual, spatial and auditory modes of instruction and accommodations to facilitate functioning and inclusion.
Autism impacts the whole being and total functioning of the individual unlike the physical disabilities which impact only a particular part of the individual. Though some persons with autism may have intellectual disability, others have normal or higher than normal Intelligence quotations but because they are not properly understood, their intellect, skills and talents are left undeveloped.
Many children in mainstream schools have autism but they can express themselves, suffer from discrimination, teasing from their peers and teachers and many do not even have desks and books, and the teachers claim that they don’t sit in the class and don’t let them participate in activities.