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Stakeholders seek support for children with special needs

Stakeholders have called for support and collaboration from parents, governments and caregivers for children with special needs.

Speaking on Wednesday at the PureSouls Learning Foundation conference in Lagos, the Founder of Puresouls, Mrs Dotun Akande, said there was the need to keep educating the government, society, and the media  to support children with disabilities.

Some issues discussed at the conference which was titled,  ‘Redefining developmental disability: The roadmap towards acceptance,’ were, quality and qualitative research, access to funds and grants, data collection, access to education, wellness of special needs children and their caregivers.

Akande said, “The conference aims at bringing collaboration among stakeholders in the disability space. Parents, community and government need to accept that these children exist and give them the support that will help them right from childhood. We need to do more researches, raise funds, for early intervention.

“We can redefine disability by telling the government to include them, telling the media to use the appropriate words to change the narrative,  that parents should let them come out and by the time we talk regularly about them, the stigma will fly out. Government should support in terms of social development, capacity building for parents, and employment for these children in all spheres of our sectors.”

The wife of the Lagos State Governor, Dr Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by Mrs Olayemi Oke-Osanyintolu, said “We are working hard towards ensuring that no child is stigmatised but receives support from government, parents and friends. When they are included, it will build their self-confidence and they will contribute their quota.”

The deputy governor, Ogun state, Mrs Noimot Oyedele, who was also represented by Mr Adesina Adetoye advised that the society should imbibe attitudinal change, re-orientation and positive change of mindset towards persons living with a disability.

He said, “It is high time to focus on acceptance so that children are not left as burden to their families. A study reveals that disability is prevalent in developing countries. They are challenged with less education, poorer health.

“I urge parents not to hide their disabled children but bring them out and seek support from private and public organisations. We should see the responsibility of those with disabilities as ours.”

One of the panellists, Mrs Amaka Awogu, explained that most Non Governmental Organisations who were into children with disability, ventured into the field because they have a child with a disability, saying they did not have the knowledge of proposal writing for funds and grants.

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