Parents of children with autism spectrum disorder have called on the Government to support existing autism centres with infrastructural projects to accommodate the increasingly growing number of children being diagnosed.
They said such an essential support would help develop and shape the children on the autism spectrum, achieve education for all and create opportunities which were largely not available in the public schools.
The parents joined their wards together with other stakeholders and celebrated the end of the year with programme dubbed “Autismax,.”
Autismax is a yearly autism dance performance held by Autism Awareness Care and Training Centre (AACT).
Madam Sophiah Afreh Asamoah-Baah, a parent of three boys diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder said the State should support the existing schools by opening up their infrastructure, build capacities of facilitators and design a policy to put up schools for these children across the country.
She said most public schools had been reluctant to admit children on the spectrum with the excuse that they do not have the requisite skills, logistics and infrastructure.
“The State must also build the capacities of teachers in the public schools in handling the children because it is financially and emotionally draining,” Madam Asamoah-Baah.
Sharing her experience and ordeal as a parent, she said society seemed to classified the children on autism spectrum as ‘outcasts’ because of the weird actions and unruly behaviours often shown.
It’s difficult to take the children out and called on Ghanaians to be patient with children with disabilities, Madam Asamoah-Baah said.
She urged parents not to be offended when told of the symptoms of autism with their wards but quickly go to a health facilities to confirm or otherwise, adding that sugar was not good for children with autism because it made them hyperactive
Mr Abeiku Grant, Coordinator, AACT, said it was expensive to train a child with autism, a situation which causes several parents who did not have the resources to keep their children at home.
“The government is focusing on the growth and development of physical disabilities at the neglect of children on the autism spectrum. We have advocated for the State’s support, but we don’t see any such support from the Government,” he said.
Mr Grant said the AACT is rolling out a vocational and technical programme to give the children with children some skills and apprenticeship work.