Following the recent commemoration of the World Autism Day, experts have advised parents, wards and care givers to always watch out for the red flags as to protect and give necessary care and support to persons living with autism in the society.
This formed part of the public enlightenment that marked the commemoration of persons living with autism in the society.
According to Miss Rita Ebietuoma and Miss Udodirim Dike, both experts from Pleasant Places Therapy Center, PPTC, in Port Harcourt, urged that persons living with autism in the society deserved necessary attention, which includes social acceptance among other care necessary for special needs people. They advised parents especially to treat and accept victims of autism as normal people like them.
But, on her own part, Miss Rita Ebietuoma, acknowledged the need to watch out for the red flags, which she described as vital signs normally displayed by children suffering from autism, saying that these are not restricted to a particular pattern of behavior which may include walking on the tip toes, among other characteristic behaviours.
She informed that autism can be hereditary, a condition in which it runs in the family setting. She described this as genetic disposition that may be triggered during conception. According to her, besides this factor, “there is no known cause of the condition”.
Speaking on this year's theme for the World Autism Day: ' Augmentative Communication, How to Help, Your Role,' the expert reminded all in the autism care line to wake up to their responsibilities to the autistic children. She argued that some of the autistic children are brilliant minds, but “there is the need for an enabling environment to help them be their best”.
She said that sometimes, autism children struggled in the class during learning based on stimulus which includes what she described as what may be contained in the vicinity in which they live and learn. She named such stimuli to include sound, light, noise and how they respond to them. She also posited that with necessary therapy many of them have continued to show prospects around them. According to her, social acceptance would help the children or any adult in that condition, just as they know who love them,calling on the society to respond more positively to the needs of the persons living with autism
She advised parents who have autistic children to ensure their early exposure to learning as to lessen the struggles they daily face.
In a separate chat with journalists, a parent, Mrs. Esther Wagbara, said that she has autistic children around her. She stressed the need to ensure total care of them as this will help ensure their integration into the society. According to her, though she lacked all the required expertise to adequately support the victims, she ensured she gave enough care to the children. She stressed that there is the need to come to terms with their characteristic behaviours and not dismiss them. “When I see them displaying certain skills as a result of learning, it gives me joy that with more cooperation from the society, these bundle of joy can live like you and me.”
According to her, they possessed the attributes of normal children and these would only be realized when people around them do things that can help them realize their potentials