Caught between writing a piece on the deteriorating environmental situation of Abuja, the nation’s capital and the challenge posed by the large presence of street children in Abuja, yours faithfully made up his mind to reflect on the latter which is the increasing social/security threat posed to Abuja residents by the unprecedented presence of poverty-stricken, homeless, hungry-looking and desperate children as young as eleven year-old in the major streets of a place we proudly call our Federal Capital and these Children are not part of the usual annual budget of the political authorities at the Ministry of the Federal Capital Territory.
But as I made to put pen to paper I received a powerful mail from the office of the United Nations secretary General in which Mr. Banki Moon extensively treated the contemporary issue of Autism and the urgent need for humanity to gain awareness.
The mail from the office of the secretary General of the United Nations was intelligently crafted and the heading was catchy, relevant and strategic.
The salient qualities inherent in the letter from the secretary General of the United Nations titled; “Message on World Autism awareness Day”, made me change my theme of my current piece to deal extensively with the all important question of who indeed needs Autism awareness.
There are other physical disability challenges that confront our younger generations that are not adequately attended to by government and other relevant stake holders so much so that a lot of children are abandoned by their mothers once these uninformed but poverty- stricken mothers find out that their babies are born with one physical deformity or the other. This trend of throwing away babies on the flimsy excuse that they are physically deformed must be effectively checked by government and all lovers of humanity.
In the letter dated April 2nd 2012, the United Nations Secretary General wrote as follows;
“Autism is not limited to a single region or a country; it is a worldwide challenge that requires global action”.
“Although developmental disabilities such as autism begin in childhood, they persist throughout a person’s life. Our work with and for people with autism should not be limited to early identification and treatment; it should include therapies, educational plans and other steps that lead us towards sustained, lifelong engagement”.
Mr. Banki Moon stated further; “Reaching out to people with autism spectrum disorders requires global political commitment and better international cooperation, especially in sharing good practices. Greater investments in the social, education and labour sectors are crucially important, since developed and developing countries alike still need to improve their capacities to address the unique needs of people with autism and cultivate their talents. We also need to promote further research, train non-specialized care providers, and enable the autism community to more easily navigate care systems to obtain services that can support and mainstream individuals with autism”.
“The annual observance of World Autism Awareness Day is meant to spur such action and draw attention to the unacceptable discrimination, abuse and isolation experienced by people with autism and their loved ones. As highlighted by the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, people with autism are equal citizens who should enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms”.
The South Korean-born Mr. Moon Sounded humane as he always does when he told his readers thus; “My wife has been very involved with autism awareness and advocacy efforts, and has shared with me inspiring stories not only about individuals with autism, but also about those committed to improving their lives. Let us all continue to join hands to enable people with autism and other neurological differences to realize their potential and enjoy the opportunities and well-being that are their birthright”.
From KidNeeds.com we were provided with profound body of knowledge regarding the challenges that parents face when they give birth to children with disabilities.
According to Kidneeds.com, for children with physical disabilities and their families each day may bring new challenges. Persons with physical disabilities may experience functional, visual, orthopedic, motor, or hearing impairments, which may impact upon their ability to walk, play and learn. Physical disabilities are also often defined and categorized by some degree of limitation in the use of upper or lower extremities and maintaining posture and positioning.
KidNeeds.com which is committed to providing their visitors and subscribers with access to accurate and timely information on a broad range of topics relative to children with physical disabilities also provided sound information on developmental disability thus; “The term developmental disability commonly refers to a severe and chronic disability that is often attributable to a mental or physical impairment that occurs prior to age 22”.
“A developmental disability can be expected to continue indefinitely and often presents significant challenges to children and families. There are five diagnostic categories associated with the term developmental disability. They are Mental Retardation, Cerebral Palsy, Epilepsy, Autism, and Neurological Impairments,” they noted.
“A developmental disability can result in functional limitations in some of the following areas: self-care; learning; language and communication; mobility and movement; socialization; independence; self-determination”.
“Although developmental disabilities generally fall into these categories there are many different conditions and diagnoses that are also defined as developmental disabilities, including spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, deafness, visual impairments, brain and spinal cord injuries, and others”.
It is noteworthy to state here that just like what experts advise that we can help our children with disabilities to communicate and move if we encourage them to take part in daily activities. Dressing and bathing can be opportunities to encourage your child’s development. Children learn a lot in the first three years, so it’s a good idea to start as early as possible.
Every child is a human being who deserves the protection of his/her human rights. Government at every level must practically make transparent and accountable provision release and use of public fund for the adequate care and well being of all categories of the Nigerian Children. Stakeholders in the organized private sector must also make meaningful and practical social corporate responsible contribution towards establishing adequate health care facilities in the different parts of Nigeria and ensure that functional health care are effectively rendered to our Children who are seriously in need because if we continue with the current maltreatment and neglect against our Children then we will breed a set of would-be adults that will inflict revenge violence on the larger society.
If we allow the Children to grow in the streets without care, then if they manage to rig their ways to become legislators or political leaders in the nearest future then the future of Nigeria is already jeopardized since these ‘wounded’ Children will inevitably inflict devastating revenge on the society.