In an effort to create awareness concerning autism and campaign against stigmatization, Guaranty Trust Bank corporate social responsibility on fight against austism, which is tagged “Orange Ribbon Initiative” has continued in its 5th years.
This year’s programme kicked off with a 2-day conference in Lagos on the 30th of June and 1st of July, 2015; followed by a 7-day child assessment clinic from the 2nd – 10th July, 2015 as well as a Radio Talk Series – Let’s talk Autism.
The initiative, which is in its 5th consecutive year, is an advocacy program designed to create awareness and provide support for children with developmental disabilities, most especially the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Autism Spectrum Disorder affects 1 in every 150 children around the world and is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with others.
Recognizing the challenge posed by Autism in the educational development of children, GTBank has over the years partnered with various stakeholders and practitioners, including The University of Lagos – College of Medicine, Blazing Trails International, Ministries of Health and Women Affairs to increase awareness about Autism in Nigeria. The 2015 programme assumes a rather broader spectrum in expanding existing research on ASD through its theme “Bridging Gaps and Transforming lives”. The idea behind this year’s theme, encompasses a broad array of concepts which goes beyond creating awareness for ASD to include increasing social justice education, helping individuals with special needs participate in the political process and providing access to technology for people affected with ASD. Also, the seminar will feature other initiatives such as behavioural training, teaching of non-verbal children functional communication and management of autism disorder.
Commenting on the 5th edition of the Annual Autism Seminar, Mr. Segun Agbaje, Managing Director of Guaranty Trust Bank plc stated that “we believe that children, irrespective of developmental disorders can rise to the highest levels in the pursuit of their dreams when given a chance to cultivate their innate skills and maximize their potentials.” He further stated that society on the other hand has a role to play in providing an atmosphere for children living with ASD to thrive. As a Bank, we will continue to provide support for parents, teachers and care givers of children living with Autism Spectrum Disorder through our annual Autism program.