Rumibeth Foundation, a healthcare advocacy NGO has called for more support for people with autism in the country to improve upon their general wellbeing.
Autism, also called Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), is a complicated condition that includes problems with communication and behavior. It can involve a wide range of symptoms and skills. ASD can be a minor problem or a disability that needs full-time care in a special facility.
Founder of the NGO, Ms Wilhelmina Minnow who made the call as part of efforts to increase awareness about the condition on the World Autism Day indicated that making the country’s education system more inclusive for children with autism would also add value to the lives of such children.
“There should be a system of public educational system where state of the art facilities are used specifically for children with special needs but unfortunately the only ones we have in Ghana are private owned not state owned so they are very expensive and can only be afforded by the rich which is very heartbreaking.”
“Autism knows no racial or financial background, it can happen to anyone anywhere so I am appealing to government to establish well equipped schools for children with special needs across all the regions of the country to give such children better lives,” she said.
Touching on the need for adequate parental care for children with autism, she bemoaned that some fathers abandoned their families when a child with autism is born into it and strongly advised that such behaviors must not be encouraged.
Explaining, she said such attitudes might be as a result of the discrimination against people with autism in many communities, adding that it was time for the public to rise up and show more affection to individuals with autism, especially children.
Ms Minnow lamented that some parents and guardians felt embarrassed going out with their children with autism or other forms of disabilities due to the kind of negative attention they receive in public.
If more awareness is created, about these conditions, she said discrimination against such persons would reduce significantly.
“As we mark World Autism Day, let us have a different mindset about these lovely people and support them,” she advised.
Ms Minnow also commended parents and guardians of children with autism, saying “you have done well, keep loving your wards, Rumibeth Foundation is proud of you. May God continue to bless you.”