Sunday, 29 April 2018

Autism Awareness Family Funfair by the Dewdrops Community Centre for Special Needs

In the month of April, Nigeria joined the rest of the world to mark the International Month for Autism Awareness. As an organization, the non-profit Dewdrops Community Centre forSpecial Needs Abuja in conjunction with the Comprehensive Autism and relatedDisabilities Education and Training (C.A.D.E.T.) Academy, supported by Thoughtful House Foundation Abuja, organized an Autism Awareness Family Funfair, at the Canterbury Children's Park in Abuja, Nigeria on Saturday 28th of April 2018. The Funfair served as a platform for play and fun, "inclusive" interaction and discovery, to create awareness about autism, educate, inspire and encourage families, through various games and play items among families of children living with autism and various developmental disabilities as well as children and families of typical children from the public.

The event was well attended by many families of typical children as well as children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, some regular school teachers, prominent school owners, caregivers and members of the press. Some celebrities came to show their support for the cause, such as Francis Duru (Nollywood Actor), Mrs Omolara Joseph Hunvenu (CEO Spring Interiors Ltd Abuja), Adewale Aladejana (CEO Sapphire Scents Global) and his delectable wife, Noel Emp’raw (Musical Artiste), DJ Ernesty 
(Musical Artiste), Jerrilyn Mulbah Paul (Radio OAP) and The Honourable House of Parapo Crew led by Bunmi Afolabi (Radio OAP). Other important guests who attended were Mrs Chinwe Ikaraoha (Assistant Director Special Duties at the FCT National Orientation Agency, Dr Doris Izuwah of OLG AutismCentre Nigeria and Mrs Ohi Esiri of Tippy Toes Kids Care Abuja, amongst others. Although the event was arranged strictly for children and their families to unwind, relax and have fun, it also gave me the opportunity, as the special education Program Director of the Dewdrops Community Centre, together with my team, to educate and enlighten the participants on some important facts about the challenges of autism and related disabilities among families. The refreshments served were specially prepared as "gluten free" and "casein free" snacks and  natural juices/beverages which nutrionists consider as healthier for consumption by children with autism.

The event culminated into an emotionally charged atmosphere of fun, lively games, cake cutting, presentation of gifts and awards, and group photo shoot sessions. If you missed this event, don't worry, more of our events and activities are scheduled for the months ahead. You may visit our Facebook page HERE:  to view the official photos. Or you may join our online Family Support Forum HERE to stay informed. We deeply appreciate the donations and support from all our partners, collaborators and friends.

Some photo highlights are below, after the cut.

Friday, 27 April 2018

About Last Night on My Weekly Special Needs Awareness Radio Show

We discussed the topic:  'It is Easy to Read about Autism but it's a Whole Different Story to Live with it,' @ Kiss 99.9 Fm, last night on the weekly special needs awareness radio show by the Dewdrops Community Centre for Special Needs, Abuja.

I began by explaining that autism is  a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects a child's social interaction, communication and behaviour. This occurs because the nerves and the brain are not developing as they should.

Mrs. Aisha John-Mark, a guest on our show and a parent of a child living with autism confirmed that reading and knowing about autism is nothing compared to living with autism. She said that she noticed her child had autism at twenty - two months and she immediately began asking questions and taking action. She said that the child was doing some obvious things like tip-toeing and acting in strange ways. She also noted that gluten-free food is not easy to find and her child does not enjoy them at all.

Barrister Moses Ntuen, another guest on the show and also a parent of a child living with autism added that autism can be managed through therapy because there is no known cure. He said one way to manage autism is to watch what you give the child. For example they take gluten-free bread such as almond bread. The child's diet and consequently the diet of the whole family is managed so that the child does not feel left out. Barrister Moses further highlighted that it is quite costly to maintain such a diet here in Nigeria. Overall, he recommended early intervention as vital in managing a child with autism.

I closed the discussion by emphasising the need for appropriate interventions for children diagnosed with autism. I further highlighted the high cost of therapy and proper interventions but I also said that discounts can be given when parents concerned about their kids come to the Dewdrops Community Centre because the children are our first priority.

We ended the show by announcing and giving details about our upcoming Autism Awareness Family Funfair scheduled for Saturday, 28th of April,2018.

Join us again next week Thursday, same time and same station.

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