The Minister of Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, has stated that his ministry, in partnership with the Ghana Education Service (GES), Talking Tipps Africa Foundation and other partner organisations, is developing a training programme to equip teachers with early autism detection signs.
The education minister, in his World Autism Acceptance Day commemoration message, indicated that the ministry will train all Kindergarten (KG) teachers in public schools on identifying the early signs of autism and supporting same in an inclusive classroom setting.
Dr Adutwum emphasised the importance of early detection of children living with the disorder and the need to create an environment favourable to such individuals in the school setting. In addition, he stated that the ministry will seek the services of more special education teachers, especially sign language, to bring to bear their expertise in handling autistic children in the classroom.
“We believe early detection and intervention of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) leads to better outcomes. The ministry will also seek to engage speech and language therapists in the intervention process for persons with Autism in both special and mainstream schools.
“We believe strongly that if persons with autism receive equal access to all levels of education and vocational training as spelt out in the SDG, it will improve their quality of life and enhance their chances of being employed,” he said.
This year’s global theme: ‘Inclusive Quality Education for All’, seeks to promote that people with autism also have the right to attain quality education like normal people. With the belief that modern education can assist them to stand shoulder to shoulder with other people.
He indicated that Sustainable Development Goals – four (SDG-4) resonates with the ministry of education. “As the cornerstone for enhancing people’s lives and decreasing disparities, SDG-4 focuses on guaranteeing inclusive and equitable quality education and encouraging lifelong learning opportunities for all”, he iterated.
As Ghana joins the rest of the world to mark WAAD, we call on all educational institutions to provide an inclusive and effective learning environment for persons on the autism spectrum.
The Ministry of Education believes no child should be left behind and as such, will work toward ensuring inclusive quality education for all persons on the autism spectrum.
World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD) aims to put attention to the obstacles that people with autism face every day. As a major global health issue, autism needs to gain more understanding. Each year, WAAD is celebrated on April 2 globally to spread awareness about ASD, a neurodevelopmental disorder that distorts the communication and social interaction skills of a person.
The symptoms of ASD can be detected before a child reaches the age of three years old, and the disorder is mainly caused by genetics and biological differences in brain development. However, the disorder can be effectively dealt with if the patient or parents seek medical help as soon as possible after the diagnosis.