Speaking at a stakeholder’s summit in Lagos with the theme: Ability in disability: A Stitch in Time Saves Nine, the governor who was represented by the deputy, said the concept of early intervention is preferably based on early identification and treatment of children who have established diagnosis such as cerebral palsy, down syndrome, autism or those who are at risk due to environmental factors such as malnutrition, poverty and rest.
The Lagos State governor, Akinwumi Ambode have enjoined the healthcare practitioners, parents, and guardians to live up to their responsibilities of monitoring and observing children in order to detect issues in their body or anything that could suggest medical challenge.
He noted that higher percentage of a child’s brain is developed at age three; he therefore urged the medical doctors as well as the parents to be mindful of this. “Early intervention will afford us the opportunity to do whatever it is necessary medically to salvage the situation and avoid the worst possibility that may occur if neglected.
According to him, the summit is part of the state government’s efforts to promote awareness for early intervention for children living with disability or at risk of disability and its associated challenges.
“This initiative is therefore targeted primarily at parents who are the first point of contact to the children; who are in the best position to identify issues that might affect the proper development of their children.”
In his keynote address, Dean, Faculty of Education, University of Ibadan and President, Speech Pathology and Audiology Association of Nigeria SPAAN, Prof. Julius Ademokoya identified issues that deserve early detection as those who might have visual impairment of palsy, hearing impairment, mental retardation, intellectual disability, those who have chronic health and physical impairment, autism spectrum disorder; learning disability etc.
“We have those with multiple disabilities. Most of the time, we pay attention to single disability but it is not so. It is very common to see somebody with both ear and visual problem,” he emphasized. He also said some children don’t have physical/visible disability yet they are not doing well, that such kids need early intervention together with gifted and talented children too. Prof. Ademokoya said there is need to make sure that early interventions are affected as early as possible to reduce the effect of disability; to correct and to rehabilitate the children,” he said.
He maintained that there is ability in any disability and therefore tasked people not to condemn a child because of disability. “There are individuals who because of early intervention overcame disability and eventually went on to make it in life,” he noted with examples. Speaking on behalf of the Honourable Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, Chief Medical Director of Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, Prof. Chris Bode said in some cases, ordinary scan sometimes, picks up this things early. “Some other conditions may be diagnosed as soon as the baby is born.