Nigerian Neurodiversity

17 Jun

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’.

and

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.

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15 Responses to “Nigerian Neurodiversity”

  1. Steve D June 17, 2008 at 19:43 #

    Awesome post, Kev.

  2. Matt June 17, 2008 at 20:44 #

    Unstrange Nigerians

  3. Regan June 17, 2008 at 21:16 #

    Wow, wow, wow.
    What a wonderful report conveying so much positivity and love; I’m almost in tears.

    Thank you for sharing this Kev.

  4. Ms. Clark June 17, 2008 at 21:24 #

    That’s so sweet. I hope they never discover the range of hatred toward disability and autism in “the developed world” especially as is promoted by “Big Autism” and the mercury/toxic parents.

    One of my biggest fears regarding the push for earlier and earlier diagnosis is that it pulls parents of younger and younger children into the pool of potential victims of autism “cure” salespeople.

    It doesn’t take long for some people to learn that going into massive debt is a badge of honor among some parents and that there are always therapists and supervisors and quacks somewhere who are ready to take their money.

    I hope that culture of “Spend your child to normality and become a hero!” doesn’t ever take root in other countries.

  5. Estee Klar-Wolfond June 17, 2008 at 21:30 #

    A comparative look is very useful. Roy Grinker did this in his book, Unstrange Minds. Yet, the most of what I gathered from other cultures wasn’t always as positive.

    It would be great to really look at the “stigma” — where it exists, how, and how different it is from West to East, North to South.

  6. Bink June 17, 2008 at 23:09 #

    Thanks for this post, Kev. I was touched by it.

    I agree with what Ms. Clark has posted about the money being spent and the debt and the attitudes toward that.

  7. Mary June 18, 2008 at 04:16 #

    And here I was totally looking for this to be some sort of scam article. I wasn’t exactly sure how one could scam neurodiversity though!

  8. Ms. Clark June 18, 2008 at 05:39 #

    I hope the article hasn’t incited the mercury militia to attack the author.

    “On whether this brain disorder is curable; she said autism is not an ailment that requires drugs.”

  9. S.L. June 18, 2008 at 05:58 #

    Wow, awesome Kev. What a find, thanks for sharing! Beautiful words in that article, I did tear up. Looks like we could all learn from at least one “developing” country. I’d also love to hear what they have to say about life-saving vaccines in Nigeria…

    @ Ms. Clark:
    I share your concerns 100% What also goes along with the younger diagnosis age, comes higher risk of misdiagnosis, and then also claims of “recovery” will rise, and with it the sales of those “treatments” increase… Vicious, sick cycle. Why can’t these parents see they are just walking dollar signs????

  10. Monika June 18, 2008 at 09:32 #

    I live in Berlin, Germany, and have a 7-year-old son with autism. I follow the neurodiversity discussions with great interest, as the concept has not spread too much in Germany yet. I love the idea and try to cover it well in our German autism weblog.

    By the way: here in Berlin I know a woman who is originally from Nigeria and she has adorable autistic triplets! (No small challenge, though.)

  11. Catherina June 18, 2008 at 10:46 #

    Moin Monika,

    I am also from Germany and one of the things I see (or don’t see for that matter) is that in Germany, vaccines are not that hotly debated as a “cause” for autism. Would you agree with that, or am I just not looking for such claims in the right places?

  12. century June 18, 2008 at 12:24 #

    SL said
    “I’d also love to hear what they have to say about life-saving vaccines”

    allAfrica.com: Kenya

    After a measles jab, he developed a persistent fever that lasted a month. … Then, he was diagnosed with autism. “I had not heard of autism until then,”

  13. Kev June 18, 2008 at 12:39 #

    Link please century….:)

  14. Kev June 18, 2008 at 12:44 #

    Never mind got it.

    Well for a start thats Kenya. SL wondered about Nigeria. Secondly thats the sole reference to vaccines in a 2 page piece. Try again 😉

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