Thursday, 30 January 2014

The Day Benola -A Cerebral Palsy Initiative- Visited the C.A.D.E.T. Academy

On the 30th of January 2014, The Comprehensive Autism and related Disabilities Education and Training (C.A.D.E.T.) Academy Abuja was visited by a team from Benola - Cerebral Palsy Initative. Benola is a Not for Profit Organisation located in Lagos, Nigeria. They are committed to change and progress for persons living with Cerebral Palsy (CP). 

CP is a condition marked by impaired muscle coordination (spastic paralysis) and/or other disabilities, typically caused by damage to the brain before or at birth.

*There are 17 million people across the world living with Cerebral Palsy (CP). Another 350 million people are closely connected to a child or adult with CP. It is the most common physical disability in childhood.

*CP is a permanent disability that affects movement. Its impact can range from a weakness in one hand, to almost a complete lack of voluntary movement.

*It is a complex disability: 1 in 4 children with CP cannot talk, 1 in 3 cannot walk, 1 in 2 have an intellectual disability, 1 in 4 have epilepsy.*

*CP is a lifelong disability and there is no known cure. (Source: Novak I, Hines M,Goldsmith S, Barclay R (2012) Clinical Prognostic Messages from a Systematic Review on Cerebral Palsy, Pediatrics, 130:5)

The visit offered an opportunity for cross fertilization of ideas in the areas of special education needs and awareness efforts between the two organizations.

Here are some pictures from the visit:

AVM Femi Gbadebo (Founder/CEO Benola) explaining a point to Mrs Lola Aneke (Executive Director, C.A.D.E.T. Academy)

(From left-right) Mr Ayo Joseph, Benola Advisory Board Member, Benola; AVM Femi Gbadebo, Founder/CEO Benola; Mrs Lola Aneke, Executive Director, CADET Academy, Lt Cdr Uche Aneke, & Mrs Lola Famewo, a Staff of CADET Academy

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Special Educational Program Tips for Parents

As the 2014 school year begins, here are some recommended questions for parents to ask while seeking the right educational program for a child with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) or related disabilities:

• What are the credentials of the staff, and who will be around your child?
• What is the schedule for the day's activities? Will parents be allowed to observe the classroom before enrolling their child?
• What therapies does the school/program provide? Can private therapists work with your child at the school?
• How does the staff communicate with parents?
• Does the school/program create opportunities for parents to meet and network?
• Will parents be allowed to participate in the IEP?
• How many children attend the program? What is the staff-to-child ratio? Are the children divided into groups by age or in some other way?
• How often are the teaching staff trained to work with exceptional children? Is INCLUSION one of the training topics? What experience has the staff had in working with children with special needs?
• What is the discipline policy?
• If your child is unable or would prefer not to do an activity (e.g. swimming or a field trip), what is the alternate activity?
• If your child would like to do a certain activity but may need additional support, is the staff willing to make individualized accommodations (such as help changing into a swimsuit, headphones during loud times, help with using the bathroom, feeding, etc.)?
• Are staff members willing to have a support person come in to facilitate inclusion efforts for your child and others?
• Does the school/program create opportunities for parents to share positive and negative experiences?

These questions would serve as a guide to parents of children with ASD or other special needs in making their choices for their child's education. In the end, the goal of any special needs program is to make the child feel successful, learn new skills and feel good about themselves as they grow into productive adults.