April is Autism Awareness Month and the 2nd of April marks World Autism Awareness Day.
Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) affects information processing in the brain and how nerve cells and their synapses connect and organize. It is a developmental disability that can cause significant communication, emotional, social and behavioural challenges like repetitiveness and obsessive attachment to objects.
Children may also be perceived as deaf with significant or absent language and social communication skills.
The onset of symptoms varies from 1 to 3 years in children and the learning, thinking, and problem-solving abilities of persons with ASD can range from moderate to severely challenged.
On “Beyond Limits”, a show on disabilities, that airs on Zimpapers TV Network (ZTN)
Ms. Kwadzanai R.L. Nyanungo, who is a Psychologist and Head of Learner Welfare and Special Needs Education at the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education stressed that, “One of the most important things one can do as a parent (or caregiver) is to learn the early signs of (Autism) and become familiar with the typical developmental milestones that their child should be reaching.”
She also encouraged parents to, “Use the Primary Health Care system which offers no payment of fees for treatment of children under 5 years old.”
Whilst traditional schools have classes with high student to teacher ratio, Autism schools intentionally offer small student- to- teacher ratios, with the recommended ratios being 1 teacher per 1/ 2 children. This helps children receive the individual attention required to retain information, develop new skills, and ultimately live a more well-rounded life during their adult years.
Make sure to catch Beyond Limits, at 12 pm this Friday the 2nd of April, on the ZTN Facebook page, to celebrate World Autism Day and be part of the discussion. We will visit Pathways Autism Trust, a school for children with ASD run by Flora Chinhaire, and unpack what Autism is by providing you with insight from a parent and teachers of children with ASD.
Make a date with us as we explore a new world and unlock potential through awareness and knowledge sharing.