The Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita, has called on parents, guardians and care givers not to relent in showing love and care towards victims of autism,Mrs Oyo-Ita made the urge at the premiere of a movie in Abuja, weekend to commemorate the World Autism Awareness Day which is celebrated annually on April 2. The Autism Spectrum Disorder, (ASD), advocacy movie, which premiered at the Silver bird Galleria featured top Nollywood stars Segun Arinze, as well as Hensaw Emmanuel, Eve Esin and others.
While advising that proper management was vital for the happiness of victims and their families, since there were no prescribed medical cure for autism, she explained that Autism Spectrum Disorder, (ASD), is a developmental mental disorder characterized by social-communication challenges and restricted repetitive behavior, activities and interest.
‘’ An autistic child needs the full attention of their parents to be able to cope in the society, and that is the only way autism can be handled. It is not their faults that they are in that condition, so they need to be totally accepted by the society, especially their families”.
The Head of Service further called on schools and other public places to show love, understanding and patience to autistic children no matter how special their needs are.
Speaking earlier, the Director of the movie Mr Yaba Emmanuel, said that, the movie seeks to raise a voice against the common practice of stigmatizing autistic children, and how they can be successfully managed by their families. He said “the story plot is about a struggle by a family on how to take care of an autistic child. “The child was actually born in September, and that was how we came about the title. “Koko and Henshaw, a young happy couple with good job and other good things of life, however, have a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder. “When the child was supposed to speak as a child he could not speak, and was unable to understand anything. “It got to a point when Koko and Henshaw felt like giving up on the child.’’
Emmanuel explained that there were many Nigerian families like Koko and Henshaw, who needed to be educated and encouraged that autism was not a sentence to useless life. He added that although there were no prescribed medical cure for the ailment, its proper management was vital for the happiness of victims and their families. “I have spoken with a lot of parents who have children with autism and I realized that they were really passing through a lot of pains taking care of them. “In some quarters, some see autistic children as witches and evil, and some parents even go as far as abandoning such children. “They are our children and we need to show them love, patience and care for them to be happy and become what they want to become in life,” he advised.
The World Autism Awareness Day was to encourage member states of the UN to take measures to raise awareness about children with autism throughout the world.
Assistant Director (Media Relations)
For: Head of the Civil Service of the Federation