The chief executive officer, GTBank, Mr Segun Agbaje has lamented the lack of support and vocational training for people living with autism, a developmental disability caused by differences in the brain.
Agbaje, who made the call at the Guaranty Trust Holding Company(GTCO’s) 12th Annual Autism Programme on Monday in Lagos, said most children with autism are not getting the education they need, adding that, over 80 per cent of adults with autism are not economically engaged and consequently depending on relatives to survive.
Themed: “Creating a Community of Awe-Tism Advocates,” the CEO said, the 12th edition of the annual GTCO Autism Conference, was organised to address these and many more challenges faced by people living with autism, while calling on Nigerians to empower them with critical skills needed to live an independent and productive life.
The sole essence of the annual autism conference as part of the bank’s corporate social responsibility initiatives, is to empower people with autism to achieve a life of purpose, Agbaje stated.
Speaking on the positive impact of the conference on the lives of people living with the disorder, Agbaje said the yearly awareness campaigns and discourse on autism has yielded tremendous positive results.
“About 4,000 children have benefited directly from one-on-one consultation services which is a break-away section of the programme, and more than 12,000 people have participated in the previous eight editions just as about 15,000 have also been trained on the best world practice to manage the disorder,” he disclosed.
In the same vein, the president and CEO of Behaviorprise College of Business and Health Studies, Toronto, Canada, Mr Lanre Duyile lamented over low awareness of autism, while calling for more awareness and collaboration to help patients with the disorder.
“Practitioners in Nigeria do not have the requisite training to manage children with autism. There is need for financial support as it takes five practitioners to train one child, hence the need for the collaboration and support from well meaning Nigerians,” he explained.