The Group Chief Executive Officer of Guaranty Trust Holding Plc, Mr. Segun Agbaje, has emphasized the importance of bolstering support for individuals with autism and their families due to the rising prevalence of autism worldwide.
He made this know during the 2023 GTCO Autism Conference, which brought together experts, advocates, and families, all united by a common goal: to shed light on the pressing need for increased support for individuals with autism and their families, given the alarming rise in autism prevalence worldwide.
As Mr. Agbaje took the stage, his passion for the cause was evident, and he delivered an impassioned speech that resonated deeply with the audience.
He highlighted the urgency of addressing the challenges faced by those living with autism and the vital role that society must play in fostering an inclusive environment for them.
The rising rates of autism diagnoses have created a call to action for individuals, communities, and organizations to come together and create a more understanding and accommodating world for those on the autism spectrum.
According to him, “As the programme of events will show, persons with Autism Spectrum Disorder have remarkable creativity and aptitude for learning that can be identified and nurtured with early diagnosis and treatment interventions, which ultimately lead to better long-term outcomes.
“We will also benefit from the personal experience of individuals who have triumphed over the limitations of ASD, forging exciting careers from their passion. Through their examples, we will learn that with the right support and opportunities the possibilities are indeed boundless. We are therefore reminded of our responsibility to advocate for the environment, supportive networks, and resources that enable individuals on the autism spectrum to thrive.”
The conference named “Empowering Voices for Autism,” an extension of the Orange Ribbon Initiative, took place in Lagos on July 24 and 25, 2023.
Mr. Lanre Duyile, a Board-certified behavior analyst based in Canada, addressed the audience during the event. He spoke on the topic of “Executive Functioning and Autism” and emphasized, “When it comes to supporting individuals with autism, we often desire them to be just like us. We aim for them to perform tasks similar to those without autism.
However, it’s essential to recognize that their brains are wired differently, making this a challenging endeavor.”
“The way they see things are different, from the way they process information. One of the things I was trying to address in the presentation is the essential function of skills, they take those things for granted.
“We need to teach people how to communicate with them and how we can understand them, otherwise, we will always have problems with them.”
Moreover, Dr. Brain Boyd, an authority in Autism and special education, delivered a talk titled ‘Understanding the Neurodiverse Minds: Exploring Repetitive Behaviours in Autism.’ Dr. Boyd emphasized, “Autism is a natural condition that warrants acceptance, as it has been and will always be present among individuals.”
In Dr. Boyd’s presentation, Whitney Anny shared insights on ‘Sensory Processing and Autism,’ while Speech Pathologist Tomi Odeleye provided a creative discussion on ‘Communication and Social Skills.’ These were just a few of the topics covered by the diverse range of speakers at the event.