Godfried Eyeson, the Executive Director of Evergreen Autism Centre and Inclusive Academy, with persons on autism spectrum
Godfried Eyeson, the Executive Director of Evergreen Autism Centre and Inclusive Academy, with persons on autism spectrum
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Autism patients can access disability fund - Department of Social Welfare discloses

The Department of Social Welfare has urged parents with children on the autism spectrum to apply for support under the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF).

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The Ashanti Regional Deputy Director of Social Welfare, Albert Boateng, who made the call, said the government had earmarked three per cent of the fund to support persons with disability, including autism spectrum.

He said the fund was accessible to parents with autistic children with priority on education and other difficult situations. “The fund prioritises education, so if you have a child with autism and going to school, apply for the fund and that child would be given the necessary support,” he said.

Mr Boateng said although the support was available to the beneficiaries, most parents and guardians were not aware of it and as such failed to access it. He said this at an awareness creation programme organised by the Evergreen Autism Centre and Inclusive Academy at Anwomaso in the Oforikrom Municipality in the Ashanti Region last Tuesday to mark this year’s Autism Awareness Month, which is celebrated annually in April.

Acceptance

The Executive Director of Evergreen Autism of the academy, Godfried Eyeson, said the month was set aside to create awareness and acceptance of people on the autism spectrum.

He said autism was a medical condition and not what was perceived by some people to be punishment for the sins of their parents. The occasion was also used to officially launch the Evergreen Autism Centre, a non-governmental organisation to train and support children with the autism spectrum and other developmental disorders in a bid to create an inclusive society.  

The school currently has a population of 15 people with autism. He said people with autism were special children with special needs and the academy had trained professionals to ensure a conducive teaching and learning environment for the children.

He said he believed that through training and workshops, parents with autistic children would be aware of what to do to maintain the progress the children acquire in school.

Challenges

The Executive Director explained that a major challenge the school faced was parents’ inability to enrol and maintain their children in the school due to financial constraints, and therefore appealed to the government to build more facilities for persons with autism in the country.

He called for an all-inclusive education across the country from the basic level so that children on the spectrum could be identified earlier for intervention to correct them.
He appealed to the public to desist from discriminating against persons with autism but accept them into society.  

Consistency

A parent with an autistic child at the centre, Portia Addo, who shared her experience, said she had seen a great improvement in her son after enrolling him in the school. She encouraged parents with such children not to keep them at home for fear of discrimination but to enrol them at appropriate facilities to get the needed help.

The side attraction was an exhibition and sale of beautiful crafts and artwork by persons with autism to raise funds to support the students and the school.

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