By Martins Ifijeh
Foremost African financial institution, Guaranty Trust Bank plc, will hold the 8th edition of its Annual Autism Conference July 17 and July 18, 2018 at the MUSON Centre, Onikan, Lagos.
Themed â€œRaising a Child with Autism, the Role of Family and the Communityâ€ the two-day conference is part of the Bankâ€™s Annual Autism Program, which brings together globally renowned medical specialists, parents, caregivers, health practitioners and concerned members of the public to share ideas on how to support children and adults living with Autism.
According to the World Health Organisation, one in 160 children live with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) worldwide. In Nigeria, the condition is hardly diagnosed, rarely understood and children with ASD often suffer stigmatisation.
According to Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, GTBank, Segun Agbaje, it was in response to these challenges that the bank launched the Orange Ribbon Initiative to support children and adults living with Autism and other developmental disabilities.
He said, â€œThrough this initiative, the bank has, over the last seven years, offered more than 14,000 people training on how to manage ASD, provided free one-on-one consultation services to over 3,200 children and led a sustained campaign to tackle the stigma facing people living with Autism.
â€œLike every other child, children with Autism have big dreams and amazing talents to contribute to our society, but they need all our support to rise above their present difficulties.
“As an institution that is passionate about helping young people achieve their dreams, we will continue to lead initiatives and create programmes that ensure that every child, regardless of their challenges, has all the support they need to reach their full potential.
â€œThis year, we will begin with the 2018 Autism Conference which is free to attend and open to the general public. The conference will also be streamed live onÂ facebook.comÂ and people across all social media platforms can join the conversation by using the hashtag #BeAVoice.â€
He said the conference will present an opportunity for a one-on-one consultation for children with Autism and other developmental challenges as well as counselling of their parents and guardians.
Â â€œThere will also be sessions for speech and physical therapy, behavioural analysis, audiology, clinical psychology, developmental psychiatry, physio therapy and occupational therapy.
“These sessions will hold from Thursday July 19 to Monday July 23, 2018 at Digital Village, Alausa, Lagos,â€ he added.