Parents with children living with autism should be their own ambassadors for change


Autism is known to be a neurological disorder characterised by communication and social difficulties, and believed to affect one in 68 children globally. Statistics for Ghana and other African countries are lacking; however, one study suggests one in 87 children under the age of three in Ghana is autistic as of May 2016.

In a bid to shore up the needed understanding of this disposition by the general public, Radio 360 and Empire FM have, for the past three years, been holding a month-long autism awareness every April and as part of this year’s awareness, parents of children living with autism are being charged to be ambassadors and advocates to attract better conditions and environment for their wards who have the spectrum.

Often, parents with children who suffer from the spectrum disorder try to hide them from the public due to stigma.

However, according to Kojo Osei Ghansah, a parent of a child living with autism, parents should rather use their platforms to educate the public on autism and also demand adequate resources from government anytime the need arises.

“We the parents, especially those of us with social media presence, can use our platforms to educate people. A lot of people honestly don’t understand autism, and it is difficult to help somebody if you don’t understand them. So let us be ambassadors; with every person you meet, try and give them knowledge about autism,” he explained.

He further added: “The government has so many things it is doing, so if you don’t keep lobbying to have autism issues on the front burner, they will push your issues aside because there are other pressing needs. So, we the parents must come to the forefront, take political and social stands, go to rallies where politicians are taking decisions to give our children a voice”, he advised.

Mr. Ghansah made this call at the public forum organised by Radio 360 and Empire FM as part of this year’s autism awareness held at the Takoradi Technical University Auditorium.

Relatedly, the Special Education Coordinator at the Effia Kwesimintsim Municipal Education Directorate, Madam Margret Abakah Bortsio, has appealed for support from both government and benevolent organisations to aid them provide better education for children with special needs in the municipality and the region at large.

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