Autism is a developmental disability that manifests itself in the first three years of life. It results from a neurological disorder that affects the brain function. Children all over the world are affected, irrespective of gender, race or socio-economic status.
Autism is characterized by impaired social interaction, problems with verbal and nonverbal communication, and unusual, repetitive, or severely limited activities and interests.
According to Center for Disease Control (CDC), about 1 in 68 children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder, with the condition being more common in males than females. The exact cause of autism is still unknown. However, some may be some genetic factors associated with the development of the disorder. Most importantly, there is a vast array of help and support available to those diagnosed and their families.
1. Early screening and Diagnosis Campaign which involves the Special needs and Language assessment and appraisal of children in pilot schools and selected communities.
2. The Inclusive School project: The training of special Education and regular teachers in pilot schools to be able to teach the Special Education curriculum and follow Individualized Education Plans(IEPs). To provide access to therapy which addresses needs such as speech and language, behaviour, socialization etc.
To give every child with Autism and other special language needs and disorders in Africa the very best chance at success by creating access to local and global opportunities for early, intensive, inclusive education and intervention.
One strategy is to ensure that over the next decade schools that practice Inclusive Education for children with Autism and special needs will be more available in Nigeria and Africa. This will be accomplished by partnerships with some pilot schools to establish programs that will encourage the practice of Inclusive Education and serve as role models to other schools. More specifically ACSI's goal is to establish two viable programs for Early Intervention in two pilot schools over the next three years.