A motivational Speaker and Founder of Spirit, Soul and Body Workshop Rev. Dr. Nanayaa Owusu-Prempeh has called on Ghanaians to show love and compassion to people living with Autism.
According to her, society must embrace people with special needs and respect them for who they are, what they are made of, and above all their constitutional rights. Rev Owusu-Prempeh disclosed this at a workshop, focusing on Autism Awareness, Stigma, Acceptance and advocacy in Accra.
According to Neurodevelopmental Pediatricians, Autism is a mental condition from early childhood.
Some of the symptoms are great difficulty in communicating, forming relationships with other people, using language and abstract concepts.
These symptoms often develop gradually, though some children with autism reach their developmental milestones at a normal pace and then regress.
While autism can be inherited, researchers suspect both environmental and genetic factors as causes.
In Ghana, the disease has not been given that much needed attention. Statistics available point to the fact that the prevalence rate has increased over the years. These informed Rev. Dr. Nana Yaa Owusu-Prempeh’s call for social inclusion of people living with autism.
She observed that children living with the disease are stigmatized that most of them end up committing suicide unknowingly, and suggested that “the government must build institutions and equip those institutions with the knowledgeable professionals who are going to be able to pick and provide the therapy that these students need to help them in their speech and communication skills”
A parent of a 12 years old autistic girl and Executive member of the Autism Society of Ghana, Mary Kuffour now has to stop work in order to take care of her. She narrated that, initially, it was difficult but since they were introduced to special diet for children living with autism, her daughter’s situation has improved.
“Since we were introduced to the special diet for children with autism, which is called the gluten free Casein free diet, she really mad a lot of progress”
She added that, her daughter has become very calm and she is able to respond to questions.
Neurodevelopmental Pediatrician at the Mission Clinic, Kokomlemle, Dr. Marilyn Marbell says there is no cure for it but could be reduced by communications therapy.
“Even though it is neurobiological, there is no cure; there is no medicine so the treatment is therapy that you get in school; that you get through communication”, she stated.