We need a specialized college to train teachers for autism children-AACT

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Programmes Facilitator at the Autism Training Centre, Mr. Abeiku Grant, is advocating for the establishment of a specialized teacher training college that will focus only on autism.

Speaking in an interview with Nyankonton Mu Nsem on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm, he said there “is no training school in Ghana where individuals who want to specialize in caring for autism children, could train”.

He said although special education creates an opportunity for trainees to be given training in autism, the training offered is inadequate.

The specialized training school he opined will help train teachers and give them the needed skills to teach autism children.

He is also advocating for a national autism training center for autism children.

He said the government must make it a point to establish the center to assist parents with autism children.

According to him, statistics from the American Disease Control Centre has noted that out of every 68 childbirths, one is diagnosed with autism.

This he said must inform the government to initiate policies to help children with autism in Ghana.

The previous figure he said was a 1:100 ratio in the past, a situation that must call for urgent steps to deal with it.

In Ghana having a child with autism is viewed by most as a curse on the family, or worse still the mother is labeled a witch

However, Mr. Grant says the perception was wring and has encouraged Ghanaians to support children and families with autism.

Autism a complex neurobehavioral condition that includes impairments in social interaction and developmental language and communication skills combined with rigid, repetitive behaviors. Because of the range of symptoms, this condition is now called autism spectrum disorder (ASD). It covers a large spectrum of symptoms, skills, and levels of impairment. ASD ranges in severity from a handicap that somewhat limits an otherwise normal life to a devastating disability that may require institutional care.

Children with autism have trouble communicating. They have trouble understanding what other people think and feel. This makes it very hard for them to express themselves either with words or through gestures, facial expressions, and touch.

The Autism Training Centre

The Autism Awareness Care and Training centre [AACT] encourages inclusion into mainstream education and society.

Through our twenty years of service, we have assisted more than four hundred children and their families.

AACT’s training focuses on behavior management (which is the core of the entire training programme), functional academics, music, dance, drama, movement and art therapy, speech and occupational therapy and life skills training.

Resources to train these children simply aren’t available for us here in Ghana.

However, we are fortunate to receive speech/language and occupational therapy resources from international volunteers. We use local materials like the dry seed of the flamboyant tree as music shakers, Djembes drums for drumming to teach music and dance. Our staff works with the children on rhythms and many of them thrive on this activity.

Since church is a vital part of the Ghanaian lifestyle, we spend Friday mornings in a modified worship service.

Our staff members sing praise and worship songs with the children in English and the local language and teach the children about God through song and dance.

Recognition

AACT has received many awards for its quality service delivery both internationally and locally. Notable amongst them include the 2018 MTN Heroes of Change Education Category, Best Social Enterprise Award 2017, from Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), Heartspring Award USA, Ayekoo Excellence Award, Millennium Excellence Award, and many others.

Our dream is to see a society that is more inclusive and sensitive to the needs of persons with autism.

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