GTB Calls for Establishment of Policy on Autism

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Martins Ifijeh

As part of efforts to raise awareness on management of Autism in Nigeria, Guaranty Trust Bank has called on national and state lawmakers to create policies on autism.

Speaking during a press conference to announce the Bank’s 7th Annual Autism Conference in Lagos, Head, Communications and External Affairs, Oyinade Adegite said though the bank, which has been on the forefront of raising awareness in the country, has sent a bill to the National Assembly, aimed at creating policies to tackling the scourge in the country, there was need for its passage, as this would help in tackling the scourge.

While commending Lagos State for its law on disability, she said parents, caregivers and the society should give support to people living with the condition, adding that they can also achieve their live’s dreams if properly cared for.

According to her, the Autism conference tagged; ‘Childhood to Adulthood: Communication and Social Development’, was to enable experts address the dynamic needs of people living with Autism right from their childhood through adulthood.

As part of the 2017 programme, there will be globally renowned specialists present to offer consulting services ranging from the assessment of children for Autism and other developmental challenges to the counselling of their parents from 17th to 22nd July 2017 at Digital Village, Alausa, Ikeja.

Since 2009 the Autism Awareness Conference has been a core part of GTBank’s Orange Ribbon Initiative, an advocacy programme designed to support people with developmental disabilities and special needs, especially Autisim Spectrum Disorders (ASD). In 2016, the 6th edition of the Autism Conference had over 1,500 participants over the two-day period, more than triple the number which attended the inaugural conference. This year is expected to attract a larger audience and will have as partners, Ministries of Health and Education, Blazing Trails International, Texas, USA, College of Medicine, Idi-Araba, Lagos, Patrick’s Speech and Language Centre and the Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Aro Ogun State.

Commenting on the Conference, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, Mr. Segun Agbaje, said; “Over the past six editions of this conference, we have made tremendous achievements in amplifying the national awareness of Autism Spectrum Disorders and increasing the expert assistance available to people living with Autism. This year, we are going several steps forward to address the dynamic communication and social needs of children living with Autism as they transition into adulthood. He further stated “Aware that we are a voice for people who don’t have a voice, we will continue to support children living with Autism as well as their parents, teachers and care givers so that through us, the world can hear them.”