By MATTHEW UKACHUNWA, Lagos
Management of Guaranty Trust Holding Company PLC (GTCO), has disclosed its plan to touch lives of people living with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in Ghana.
Mr. Segun Agbaje, Group Chief Executive Officer of GTCO, disclosed the development at the opening ceremony of a 2-day 12th Annual Autism Conference organized by the company in Lagos on Monday.
Agbaje assured participants that the annual autism programme will not stop in Nigeria.
He sought the commitment of stakeholders in tackling the challenges posed by autism, and emphasized that this year’s engagement will address the growing adoption of evidence-based intervention for treatment of ASD.
The GTCO chief said that community involvement is important in what can be done to create better outcomes for individuals living with Autism.
“Also, we will be learning practical approaches to special care and get to see and hear first-hand experiences of those who overcome the limitations of ASD to build exciting careers from their passion,” Agbaje said at the event titled, “Creating A Community of Awe-Tism Advocates.”
He advocated a culture of inclusion towards people living with Autism in order to enable them to reach their full potentials.
Agbaje declared: “Now in its 2nd decade, the annual Autism Conference has over the years shaped a community of people with a shared commitment to create better outcomes for those who find themselves in the margins of society because they are deemed different from what the world defines as normal.
“While much has been done over the years to increase the social consciousness around Autism and to improve the available support systems for managing developmental disorders, I strongly believe that we can do more individually and collectively to create and uphold a culture of inclusion towards people living with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to enable them to reach their full potential.”
According to the Guaranty Trust Bank leader, the theme for this year’s conference – “Creating a Community of Awe-Tism Advocates” – sought to highlight the issue of social isolation of persons with autism spectrum disorder “whilst calling for all of us to do more in showing practical support for this special group of persons by adopting a mindset of inclusion.”
Agbaje said that beyond helping those with ASD directly, their families and primary caregivers stand to benefit from GTCO’s growing community of “Awe-Tism Advocates” as having the support of friends outside the family circle and frequent engagement in community activities are proven measures towards providing relief.
“I have no doubt that our ‘Awe-Tism Advocates’ will continue to grow and increasingly embody a safe space for people living with autism to thrive in,” the GTCO group chief executive officer stated at the event which is being held on both virtual and physical platforms.