World Autism Day: First Lady Calls for Early Diagnosis, Intervention

The First Lady, Sen. Oluremi Tinubu, has said that early detection of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can help people on the autism spectrum reach significant gains in their abilities.

This is contained in a message the first lady sent on World Autism Awareness Day, marked every year on April 2.

“The journey for families with loved ones who are autistic can be challenging. Today, I salute and celebrate their unwavering love and dedication.

“I also recognise the crucial role of community organisations in providing support, resources, and opportunities for individuals with autism and their families.

‘However, early diagnosis and intervention are crucial to ensuring individuals with autism reach their full potential.

“I urge parents and caregivers to be attentive to developmental milestones and seek professional help if any concerns arise.”

She further called for more expression of love and collective support of everyone in the society for people with ASD to overcome the challenges.

”We can create a world where individuals, irrespective of who they are and whatever challenges they face in life, are empowered, included, and celebrated for their unique gifts,” she said.

NAN reports that the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that about one in 160 children worldwide is on the autism spectrum.

In Nigeria, the prevalence is estimated to be one in 88 children, according to the WHO.

However, the WHO said due to a lack of awareness and understanding about autism, many cases go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.

The World Health body also said that worldwide, it is estimated that around 31 per cent of individuals with autism also have an intellectual disability.

In 2007, the UN General Assembly designated April 2 as World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD).

The UN is encouraging Member States to take measures to raise awareness about autism among individuals throughout the world.

World Autism Day is one of only seven official health-specific UN days.

The 2024 observance will for the first time, seek to provide a truly global overview of the state of affairs in this regard from the perspective of autistic people themselves.

Vanguard / Arafat Ayofe

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