World Autism Awareness Day: Stakeholders Raises Hope for Ending Challenges

Global awareness about Autism is being intensified as experts, stakeholders and leaders come together every April 2nd, to observe World Autism Day.

They met to further draw attention to the challenges faced by individuals living with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and gave hope for individuals facing challenges.

This day serves as a reminder to increase understanding, acceptance, and support for those with autism globally.

The theme for this year’s celebration is “Moving from Surviving to Thriving,” emphasizing the importance of not just acknowledging the existence of autism but also promoting environments where individuals with ASD can thrive and reach their full potential.

Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is a complex neurodevelopmental disability that affects social interaction, communication, and behavior.

Individuals with autism may experience challenges in understanding social cues, engaging in repetitive behaviors, and communicating effectively, both verbally and non-verbally.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), people with autism often have co-occurring conditions, such as epilepsy, depression, anxiety, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Additionally, they may exhibit other challenging behaviors, including difficulty sleeping and self-injury.

In Nigeria, autism remains a significantly overlooked health issue, with low awareness and inadequate provision for early diagnosis and management of the disorder.

Despite an increasing prevalence of ASD worldwide, there is limited data on autism in Nigeria and Africa as a whole.

Data from WHO shows that globally, one in 100 children lives with autism, with an estimated 135 million cases worldwide. While specific statistics for Nigeria are scarce, a 2014 research study highlighted the prevalence of autism among children in the country.

Out of a sample of 2,320 children, 54 were identified as having autism, with a higher incidence among boys compared to girls.

Efforts to raise awareness and provide support for individuals with autism in Nigeria are crucial to ensure they receive the necessary resources and opportunities to thrive.

This World Autism Awareness Day, let us commit to fostering greater understanding, acceptance, and inclusion for individuals with ASD, moving from merely surviving to truly thriving.

 

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