Over a hundred thousand Cases of autism are reported in Nigeria annually, with it’s symptoms appearing at birth in some children and others between 18 to 36 months after birth.
Autism is a life long condition that can occur in every gender, though it is believed to be 4times more common in boys than girls.
Children with autism find it hard to communicate or understand what people say, think or how they feel, but these wonderful angels can become very good at drawing, singing, solving maths and even dancing.
In Nigeria, as a result of cultural and superstitious beliefs, fear and ignorance, many autistic individuals are treated less than everyone else in the society. People often times speak to them in a very bad and derogatory manner, and sometimes even people who are younger than they are treat them like kids.They are sometimes isolated by their families due to shame. This is very heart breaking and requires a general societal attention as these people did not choose autism for themselves, they grew up to it.
Causes of Autism
Contrary to what the world believes there is actually no known causative factor of autism, not even the vaccines people are made to believe is the major cause of autism.
However some factors are known to contribute to the chances of it’s occurrence in a child. These factors include;
• A baby being born prematurely can increase his/her chances of being autistic
• when a pregnant mother is exposed to certain drugs or chemicals, it equally increases her chances of giving birth to an autistic child.
• Age too. The advanced age of the mother or father, increases the chances of them giving birth to an autistic child.
Autism has also been linked to untreated phenylketonuria and rubella (German measles)
Finally genes too can contribute to the child being born with an autistic condition.
Conditions to expect in an autistic child
- Delay in development
- Learning disabilities
- Autistic individuals tend to show varying degrees of poor impulse control, poor attention, and hyperactivity
- Obsessive – ompulsive disorder (OCD)
- Epilepsy is a common condition that affects the brain and causes frequent seizures in autistic individuals
- Anxiety and depression
- Autistic people may also be under- or oversensitive to certain sounds, lights, colors and other things, known as sensory sensitivity.
When next you see an autistic child, or adult, treat them with love and respect, understand and care for them because they are humans just like every one else.
Today is World Autism Awareness Day – show love to people living with the autistic condition.