Its refreshing to realise sometimes that there is a world ‘out there’ beyond the West and that they are living with autism too. And whats more, they aren’t considering it soulless, or sucking the marrow out of families, or organising pointless marches for people to exercise their right to blame others, or forming organisations that concentrate on blaming vaccines, or claiming that denying autism was anything except mercury poisoning in the past and now claiming its the vaccine schedule is just the evolution of a hypothesis, or making a tidy profit of the ignorance of parents.
No, what they’re doing is ‘serving humanity’:
Mr. Babatunde Willouhby,a masters degree holder, left his lucrative job to serve humanity by taking care of autistic and children with Down syndrome, amongst others. He is an administrator in an autistic school, named Hope House School, here in Abuja. While chatting with him recently in his office, I saw in him a man with passion for dealing and caring for a special group of children with slightly different behavioral pattern from those who the society will tag ‘normal children’.
Mr Ayiem……said the value he attach to the welfare of his son does not make him see the money spent as expensive, but an investment which is worth giving any individual with confidence that, though it will take time, his son will be independent some day.
and most of all
….socially people see it as a stigma, but I don’t. I have had occasions where I go out with her to supermarket, church and social gathering and you notice people looking at you in a particular way, but I don’t care because she is my daughter. I give her all my love and I display it publicly. I want her to know that she is one of the must loved children in the world.
autistic children and children with Down syndrome can contribute significantly to the society ,if only they are accepted. When we are at home for instance, we help her with her school work by showing her what to do and what behaviour is proper. Of course, like any other child she may go off the track but we help her to do the right things.
If you play any song on radio or on CD and ask who sang it, whether American or Nigerian, she will tell you the name of the artiste. How she knows the name of the artiste and their songs, I don’t know. So if she wants to take that line, I will encourage her all the way. Wendy to me, is one in a million and for me she is a normal child.” From this discussion with Mr Ojugbuna I saw the picture of a father who believes in his child and that was reflected in the behavior of Wendy.
Nigeria is classed as a developing nation (what used to be called ‘third world’). I’d say that in my opinion it has developed a whole hell of a lot further and faster than some people I can think of over in this supposedly enlightened culture.