As the World celebrates the Cerebral Palsy day on October 8, this year, a non governmental organisation, NGO, JKS Home for Special Needs and JKS Centre for Special Needs, is organising a 5-kilometre walk for the victims.
The founder of the NGO, Nifemi Seun Ajileye, said there would be the need to walk the talk about addressing the needs of the people with this disabilities.
The organisation is therefore urging residents of Abuja to help paint the town green for children/people living with cerebral palsy on this day by walking the talk in the city.
The walk, which will kick off from the NGO centre at phase 4 in Kubwa, will see participants going through to Federal Housing then back to base through phase 3 also in Kubwa, a distance of about 5 kilometers, all in all.
Ajileye said cerebral palsy remains the most common lifelong motor disability in the world and as such there was need to focus on it and find a way to redress the situation.
According to her, the home is called JKS Home for Special Needs where it caters for children with disabilities such as Autism Spectrum disorder, Cerebral Palsy, Down syndrome, and other intellectual disabilities who are orphans, abandoned even by their parents.
Among those being attended to by the home include children with disabilities who are from low income homes and can barely feed, the vulnerable who are subjected to rape and abuse
“We accommodate these kids, provide therapeutic supports for them, provide medical, psychosocial and educational supports as well as skills acquisition training. We work towards these children’s independence and to the glory of God we have recorded great improvements,” she said.
She enjoined parents to empower themselves with so much Knowledge , register in good and well equipped hospitals with professionals who are passionate with their jobs , and don’t miss antenatal visits as some issues which could lead to having a child with disability can be detected during pregnancy, she pointed out.
She further explained that the Home also runs a special needs center where parents bring in their wards daily for therapy interventions such as speech therapy , occupational therapy , behaviour modifications , Physiotherapy , educational interventions etc
She strongly believed that children / persons living with disability are often discriminated even in their family, society etc
At JKS home, the proprietress said they have chosen to accept these children with all love because love leads, once these children feel accepted they improve beyond the expectations of the society and this goes to everyone.
Ajileye therefore further explained that it is the general norms that people tend to do better when they feel loved. “Despite their challenges we have chosen to relate and accept them because disability is not inability, if you take your time, Trust your instincts , if you notice a delayed milestone go to the hospital if you are not convinced go to another hospital make sure you get the right diagnosis as early intervention is key”
To study them, she said, one will realize they’ve got so much potentials and abilities that could be developed into an advantage.
“One thing I would like to say to parents is, we need to pay close attention to our growing children, learn the milestones and follow it up closely
Most disabilities occur before pregnancy, during pregnancy and after pregnancy. That’s why it’s advised, women who are preparing to conceive should start taking folic acid at least 3 months before to prevent a disability called spina bifida
Also its important couples undergo genetic testing before marriage, this would enable them know if they are genetically compatible
Once your child is diagnosed early interaction is key, don’t run helter skelter especially to wrong places, first is to accept the child never live in denial, look for the right intervention at the right place and be consistent with it, she highlighted.
It could be tiring sometimes but as she puts it, little drops makes a mighty ocean that child will improve beyond expectations
Therapy is a journey not a race, she noted.
Mrs. Nifemi Seun Ajileye who is a certified Autism Specialist, with special educational needs therapist, have over 10 years experience.
She said she has gone through so many international and local trainings and along the way received some awards in the field.
She studied psychology at Obafemi Awolowo University and graduated in 2011. She did her one year compulsory service with Ministry of Women Affairs, Child Welfare department, Ibadan Oyo state.
She started working with children with special needs while still a student at the University while her mother founded Jesus kids home in Ibadan while she was in her third year in the university
She later worked with a Health Foundation that caters for children with special needs immediately after her NYSC. “This is where I learnt the actual practical interventions needed for these kids. After some years I started an extension of the home my mum founded here in Abuja.
She therefore appealed to residents of Abuja to come out enmass and show solidarity to those with these disabilities. She said October 8 beckons.
Abdul is a public analyst based in Abuja