World Autism Day 2019: Let’s Talk About it…

 

Words by Temi Otedola

Original Thumbnail Art by Antonia Weishaupt

 

A Follow Up

 

This post is a long awaited follow up to a blog post I published on April 2nd 2017 (here). World Autism Awareness Day falls on the 2nd April; however, every year the month of April remains the designated month to increase people’s awareness about autism. In my 2017 blog post that you can read (here), I discussed my own personal journey growing up with a brother who is on the autistic spectrum and how it’s impacted my life. After reading the responses to this blog post, I soon realised that I wasn’t alone in this journey and many other families are living with a similar situation, whether it be Asperger’s, autism, ADHD, or other behavioural conditions. After receiving such an overwhelming response to this blog post, I decided to take it upon myself to spread as much Autism Awareness as I could on my various platforms.

 

Therefore, to honour World Autism Month, I want to share with you further information covering what autism is and how you can help the cause in your own lives, whether you are personally affected by the condition or not.

 

AUTISM FACTS: 1 in 59 children is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Break The Stigma

 

Most crucial to autism awareness is the acceptance and understanding of autism. As a society, we need to end the stigma surrounding behavioural conditions. There is absolutely no shame or disgrace in being on the autistic spectrum. To inform those of you who might be reading about autism for the first time, autism is characterised as a developmental disorder that is incredibly varied depending on the person, hence why we use the term autistic “spectrum”. It’s hard to pinpoint how autism surfaces in each person due to this variation, however, it can often mean autistic people have difficulty with social interaction, communication and controlling repetitive behaviour e.g. stacking items or repeating phrases.

 

AUTISM FACTS: Boys are four times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls.

Educate Yourself And Others Around You

 

My brother, Fewa is on the autistic spectrum, growing up I always saw Fewa as Fewa, not someone who was defined by this condition. That is why autism awareness and acceptance is so crucial. Autism is a condition that can affect people, people with feelings and emotions just like the rest of us.

It’s important that we take the time to think before we insensitively stare and judge someone who may be acting in what we deem to be a strange manner in public e.g. skin scratching, shouting, or even avoiding eye contact, should we see these signs we should instead take the time to consider whether that person may be on the spectrum, if so they may just need our patience and support.

 

AUTISM FACTS: Over the last two decades, extensive research has asked whether there is any link between childhood vaccinations and autism. The results of this research are clear: Vaccines do not cause autism.

Take It One Step Further

If like me you love someone who has autism or if you are interested in learning more on this topic, please find below some charities and tools that I have found truly useful:

 

 

AUTISM FACTS: Nearly two-thirds of children with autism between the ages of 6 and 15 have been bullied.

 

 

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SHOWHIDE Comments (18)
  1. Good day, I cannot but affirm how easy for those who are not well informed about autism to maltreat and stigmatize individuals who exhibit the symptoms. My junior brother was perfectly health and normal, until his 3 years old when he started showing sign and was later diagnosed of it.

    He sometimes have attacks and requires special kind of care, love and patience to get through daily, yes we not financially buoyant so he stopped school since most normal schools will not accept him.
    Though his fine and has his own way to communicate, but I sometimes which his level of comprehension can be enhance or improved with the right learning environment.

    His my best sibling, cause his special and always love and play irrespective of the kind of mode his having.

    I’m also jobless due to covid and even before, I’d appreciate a job or volunteering for any autism hospital or centre prior to getting a job.

    Getting to me his easy, google ” Ladoime” and you’d get through to me and learn more about me.

    I love my brother,
    And I’d like to also post and educate people on autism via social media too.

  2. I’ve always been interested in and I’m working on a book project on autism; even though I don’t know any one in person

    It is a delight to see you write on this. I’m impressed and I respect you for this.

    1. My nephew and nieces are also autistic.They are unique ,talented and wonderful sets of kids.They are smart in the own way. The Nigerian community needs to be highly enlightened on this spectrum as many who have autistic children are stigmatised and the spectrum attributed to one superstitious believe.Some parents even hide their kids who have this disorder from people and restrict these children at home debarring them from living and catching their fun like other children.
      It high time the disorder is given a lot of attention and people are enlightened that people with this disorder are also normal but unique in their own way created by God.
      I am interested in joining you in this enlightenment journey because I have four of them in my family and I love them

  3. It must be lovely for Fewa to have siblings like yourself who understand. You and your siblings are his Charlie’s angels (since you girls are three😁). He may not be able to express it as we non-autistic folks may, but he smiles tell his story, and they say he’s happy, he’s loved, he’s Fewa; no different from his Elder siblings, from his three angels.

    Thank you for being his angel. Your blog helps raise other latent angels who habitate the same living space with people with such behavioural conditions. Hopefully, as you continue to write on, the flames of love and understanding would be ignited in the hearts of us, “normal” folks who have the worst behavioural disease there is; that of apathy.

    I love your message. Keep up the good work my Afrikan child. Your ancestors are proud of their prodigy.

  4. My name is Titilayo, single mum of 2, my 1st lives wiv my dad in Nigeria while my 2nd son n I lives here in uk, London, South East. My 2nd iteoluwakiishi is very hyper active n not very calm most times, most pple tag him been autistic n d stigma mostly kills me alot, even at his sch, they think he’s autistic so they put him under ADHD n he’s got loads of help 4rm social worker n Camhs, Early Help n Educational phycology, still nothing calms him until they had a new Senco section at sch dat said he could be Dyslexic cus he’s still very much struggling wiv reading. Just ystdae 2/4/2020, d sch called dat he’s result is back dat he’s Dyslexic n they ll put me tru how I’ll be dealing n helping him wiv his learning ability. D stigma alone kills n I cry most times when pple say 2 me my son is special need, he’s very much okay, he just had dyslexia, nothing more.

  5. many thanks for the piece.
    people with autism are best helped by the company of a professional Nurse ..24hrly.
    he or she maintains the behavioural therapy codes

  6. Thanks for sharing, having someone who understands these behavioural conditions is a blessing and a medication.
    While there is no cure for autism yet, there are therapies that can help the participant to live a better life depending on the severity of the condition.
    You inspired me to learn more about autism and I’m sure my knowledge about autism will help someone live a better life. Love for Fewa ❤

  7. A very crucial article which I will be sharing with others. thank you for raising awareness.
    I have a son on the spectrum and he has two sisters so I can see their perspective through your eye.
    Appreciated so much

  8. Thanks for sharing this awareness. I think much of the awareness program and training should be given to schools, creche owners and other child care support institution to recognize all this symtoms earlier in childs development. Thank God that i have medical practitioners around me that was able to quickly identify those symtoms in my boy at an earlier stage. They say early intervention helps.

  9. Thank you so much for sharing Temi.
    This was really helpful. Just realized this was the condition someone I sat with yesterday had. I’m happy I was friendly with the person and thanks so much for educating us.

  10. Thank you for spreading the awareness babe. As a Behavior therapist who on a daily basis work with individuals with Autism and other special needs it breaks my heart when I think about the stigmatization but it brings me great joy when I see people spreading awareness. Keep lighting it up BLUE ?

  11. Hi, thanks for sharing. My six year old also has the same. Your dad’s a friend and your mum has met my wife at our home in Lagos.

  12. Such a great piece. May we learn to accommodate people with various challenges and accept them as part of our society without stigmatization.

    Dear ma, I’m a Nigerian with vision for a better future. I hold a degree (2.1) in Mechanical Engineering while my spouse has a Masters degree in Medical Microbiology but no worthwhile employment while parents, siblings and dependants look up to us for livelihood. We planned moving to Canada for greener pastures but we do not have the means and where withal. I’ve gone through the Canadian embassy’s website and seen major requirements: English language tests, WES degree evaluations and so on. Please, in your characteristic humane and kind nature, your help in attaining our Canadian dream would be highly appreciated if the Almighty God wills it so. We are ready to make whatever sacrifice it will take to become distinguished citizens through hard work to put smiles on the faces of all who depend on us and make Nigeria proud. You’ve always been on our minds and your assistance will never be undermined as your considerate response is patiently awaited. Please help us.

  13. My son is on the spectrum, each day is different and we love him like that. He is a fantastic boy, loving and quite affectionate (he was taught that) as he does not understand feelings. He takes things literally and we just have a laugh all the time. I once told him there was traffic jam on a particular school run and he looked at my face and said ” mummy, there is no jam on the road”, I laughed and almost pee myself. This and many more episodes we daily enjoy. I hope one day, others can see Autism as an addition to the society.

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