TalkLove Africa Foundation organises autism intervention training
When the young boy walked up to the stage assisted by his mother, the live audience and those watching on the television were curious.
This boy, who was obviously autistic and blind – a fact shown by his walking stick and human aid – was on stage for the ‘America Got Talent’ show, but what talent could he have? That would have been the question on the lips of many who still see those living with autism as completely disabled.
But the answer came when the young boy placed his hands on the piano keyboard and opened his mouth to reveal a voice so beautiful it elicited screams from the audience. Not only was this blind autistic boy an amazing singer, but he was also a great pianist.
Even today, many, especially in Nigeria, still stigmatise those living with autism, making life less than comfortable for them; an action which is probably borne out of ignorance towards what being autistic really means.
Autism is a serious developmental disorder that impairs the ability of a person to communicate and interact.
On October 12, 2019, TalkLove Africa Foundation, a non-governmental organization based in Nigeria, in collaboration with the University of Houston and Centre for Autism & Developmental Disability, ably supported by the Nigeria Association of Social Works Students and Port Harcourt Literary Society, organised the second batch of the autism sensitisation training tagged Autism Successful Intervention in Port Harcourt Nigeria.
The objective of this training, which had a headcount of about 216 people in attendance, was to shine the light on the stigma that trails autistic people in Nigeria, and to equip all in attendance with the requisite knowledge and tips on how to handle those living with autism, as well as spread same knowledge to everyone they come in contact with.
Speaking at the event, Cynthia Obinwanne, the founder of TalkLove Africa Foundation and a Global Will Ambassador, reiterated that there is ability in every disability even as she encouraged all and sundry to play a part in erasing the existing stigma placed on people living with autism.
She said: “In Nigeria, there is not enough sensitisation regarding the subject matter which means that a lot of Nigerians don’t know what autism is, what kind of care an autistic person requires, or even how to relate with such a person. That is why TalkLove Africa Foundation decided to organise this programme, which is now in its second edition, to bring to fore the plight of Nigerians who are autistic and engineer support for them via quality education and sensitisation.”
Also at the training event, the Nigerian Association of Social Works Students presented an award of merit to Obinwanne in recognition of her immense contribution to the advancement of social work practice in Nigeria and service to humanity.
The training is also part of the foundation’s action in support of their on-going campaign tagged Progress For Quality Education which currently has participants in 36 countries.
No comments yet