The activities of Day 2 of the GTBank Annual Autism Programme had more pump and circumstance than the first day, as the event was taken a notch higher and more people were in attendance.
The Shell and Agip hall of the MUSON Center, Lagos, had an overflow of people, and more facilitators had time to share their professional advice with teachers, parents and caregivers of people living with Autism.
The event started with an opening lecture by Dr. Adeola Fayemi, on ‘The Way Forward with Autism through Educational Partnerships and Research’. Dr. Adeola emphasized that more of the researches on Autism and other related conditions are done by the western communities, urging Nigerians to take interest in medical researches to enable more results and solutions to our challenges.
This was followed by a soulful stage performance of a poem by Titilope Sonuga, “A Mother Knows”, which portrays the struggles of a mother with a child living with autism.
Mrs. Dotun Akande of Patricks Speech Center spoke on ‘Teaching Sex education to Pre-teens,’ while Mrs. Ijeoma Ogwu enlightened the audience on ‘Promoting Healthy Living and Wellness in Autism.’ Other speakers, Dr. Grace Bamigboye, Dr. Ladipo Sowunmi, Dr. Bidemi Yinusa, Mr. Femi Ladeinde, Dr. Anna Lamikanra also spoke as well, giving valid teachings on how to cope, manage and stay happy with someone living with autism.
One of the highlights of the event was a special performance by 13-year old Ogieva Aruede, a student of Green Spring Schools. Ogieva was diagnosed to be on the spectrum at the age of 3. In 2016, Ogieva’s specialist and his mother discovered that he was very good at telling dates of past and future events, like birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Ogieva made a display of his skill at the event by giving accurate answers of the exact day of any date mentioned. Members of the audience randomly told him their birthdays and he told them the day of the week they were born. Eg: “I was born on 4th June 1987, what day was that?” Orieva was able to tell it was a Thursday. He even gave the day of the week any date mentioned would fall on in a future year. The audience was wowed by his special gift as well as moved to tears of how a psychological status can be transformed to such an admired strength. Ogieva’s unique gift, which is termed Calendrical Savance Syndrome, affects only 10% of people living with Autism. Asides Calendrical predictions, Ogieva is also very good with poetry and speaks fluently also.
His case is a clear evidence that “Autism is not a disability but a unique strength to become more.”
The Autism Programme continues on Monday, 17th July, 2017 – Friday, 21st July, 2017 at Digital Village, Secretariat Road (behind Ikeja City Mall), Alausa, Lagos.