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Autism schools seek govt support

The Learning Place Centre, The Learning Innovation Academy, Lekki, Lagos, and a group of other schools have called on the Federal Government to support children with autism and their educational centres across the country. 
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The Learning Place Centre, The Learning Innovation Academy, Lekki, Lagos, and a group of other schools have called on the Federal Government to support children with autism and their educational centres across the country.

Speaking after an autism awareness walk, held at the TLPC, Lekki, in celebration of ‘Autism Awareness Month,’ usually held in April, and titled, ‘Aligning SDGs with Autism: Empowerment, challenges and victories’, Executive Director, TLPC, Mrs Bolanle Adewole, explained that there had been no support for the charitable work the schools and centres gave to autistic children.

According to, Autism spectrum disorder is a developmental disability caused by differences in the brain.

Adewole called on the government to support in the area of policies and training for parents of autistic children.

She added “We work with children with special needs. It is not a one-man’s job. So, we decided to come together and take the mission as one. We realised there is a lot of work to be done. We decided to do a walk to create awareness. We do a lot to empower them so that they can live on their own. We don’t get support and we do a lot of charitable work. The support of the government is always needed. The government can come up with policies to guide us and give us set rules. If most things are standard, it will be best practiced. The government can also support us by organising training for parents of autistic children who cannot afford the training and they can also support us in terms of funding so we can impact more people.”

Adewole revealed that the autism awareness walk was an initiative of the TLP Centre and TLIA in collaboration with other educational centres. She explained that there was a plan to make the outing yearly to spread the need for acceptance, accommodations, empowerment, employment, and functional independence of children with autism.

“Collaborators were invited to symbolise unity for the cause and to promote collaboration and teamwork leading to the achievement of long-term goals. If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far go together,” she said.

Also speaking, the General Manager, Lagos State Office for Disability, Adenike Lawal, added, “The entire world is creating awareness and providing a society where autism is associated with support.

A child is autistic, not because he/she is wicked. Schools, caregivers, and parents must adapt to the reality. It is lifelong. There is nothing anyone can do about it and you must not compare any child against the other.”

She reiterated that the Lagos State Government provided free education to persons with disability from primary to tertiary education.

The chairman of the walk and proprietress, Anthos House, Lekki, Mrs Lai Koiki, emphasised the need for educators and parents to keep creating awareness of autism, saying parents and caregivers needed support.

She said, “Practitioners and parents have to create awareness, especially to people who believe it is a disease for the rich. The government should come into the space and support it. Parents need a lot of support. Some courses can be subsidised for them. We keep creating awareness and reaching out to people around us. Awareness should be more. Those not experiencing it should form a pillar of support for others.”

Director, Brainy Oaks Education Consultant, Oyinka Afolabi, added, “Educators should teach other children without autism on the need to be tolerant to autistic children and relate appropriately with them.

You can’t stop learning as an autistic teacher, you need to be passionate and do it with your heart.”

The founder and Director of Patrick Speech and Language Centre, Mrs Dotun Akande, advised families struggling with children with autism not to keep them at home.

“Don’t think because they can’t speak, they are not thinking. They think and learn. You can see the great work they have done in art and how they can continue to showcase their talents,” Akande stated.

  • On her part, CEO, Manna Children’s Centre, Lagos, Modupe Williams-Odifa encouraged, “People need to be aware of what is going on with autistic children. The federal government needs to be supportive of the special needs sector. Parents must also love them; they are children first.”

Other schools at the event, including St. Saviour School, Ikoyi, Lighthouse for Autism, Sultana Nabilah’s Cerebal Palsy Foundation, and Cradle Lounge Special Needs Initiatives walked from St. Saviour’s School, Ikoyi, to The Learning Place Centre, Lekki, Lagos.

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