Governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has called for support for autistic children and their parents, for braving the odds in society and building meaningful lives despite the scarcity of support structures for people living with the condition.
The governor, who said this in commemoration of the World Autism Awareness Day 2018, marked by the United Nations, said that the state government was reforming its health and education sectors to meet the needs of persons in society with autism and related health conditions.
According to him, â€œOn this day, it is important to acknowledge the strength and determination of children with special needs, especially autistic children, to carve out a living despite the odds in society. Their strength and bravery are worthy of commendation.”
Obaseki said the parents of these children, who have toiled day and night, must be saluted as they have shown tremendous support and resilience in ensuring that their children do not feel left behind.
â€œTheir sacrifices, even in the face of trauma and stigma, their bravery in the pursuit of comfort for their children should not go unnoticed. These parents are super, in all ramifications,â€ he added.
He said the state government is working on reforms that will meet the needs of people with special conditions, adding, â€œWe are determined to support children and others with special needs.”
The governor also regretted and condemned obnoxious practices of people who over time have stigmatised autistic patients, noting that the obnoxious practices that led to the dehumanisation of those who require special care was uncalled for and must be abolished in its entirety.
According to the UN, â€œThe 2018 World Autism Awareness Day observance at United Nations Headquarters New York will focus on the importance of empowering women and girls with autism and involving them and their representative organisations in policy and decision making to address these challenges.â€