The founder of Patrick Speech and Language Centre and Pure Souls Foundation, Dotun Akande, has urged parents with autistic children not give up on them.She said autistic children could function like their other counterparts as they can fit into menial job spaces.
Akande stated this during a courtesy visit to The Guardian Rutam House recently to discuss the vision of her centre.“Patrick is the first of its kind in Nigeria, set up as a social Enterprise to create a world class centre for individual living with Autism in Nigeria and to assist children with intellectual abilities to become confident learners. Our Mission is to improve the quality of life of individuals with developmental disability and to help them attain their full potential by maximizing the individual skill of each child”.
She said Patrick Speech has been at the forefront of Autism awareness, as it tries to change the way special needs are viewed in Nigeria, adding that the centre caters for 42 autistic children ranging from three to 22 years old, with 18 of them on scholarship.
Akande said a special Talent in Autism show was organized by the foundation, which served as a platform where the kids showcase their talents; learn new skills and vocations, adding that a therapy outreach is also organized occasionally to enlighten parents and children on how to handle autistic people. She stressed that adults with autism go through work life and farming programs, “They are taught how to trade, read, write, calculate and perform bank transactions.”
She continued: “In April of 2017, we put together a team of specialist to attend to the growing need of families waiting for services most of who can not maintain the care of the child not to talk about accessing services most of which is private funding. Because we cannot admit anymore indigent families, we decided to put together a three day free consultation outreach to teach the basic skills needed for the child to be helped in the home environment, we have been able to Integrate over 50 children into regular schools”.
She, however, stressed that funding continues to be their limitation as she appealed to the government, public and private organisations to build support centers for children and adults with down syndrome, autism and other mental conditions for the management of the disabilities.
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