‘Autism Identification and Behavior Management’ A training offered at AAU Special Needs Support Center

Addis Ababa University Office of Special Needs Support (OSNS) and HOPE For Special Education have jointly set up a two-day long Autism Awareness training at Mandella hall. It lasts till December 29 2019.

Professor Tirusew Teferra, Special Needs Education Department head, in his welcoming address told the student trainees they will gain better insights about Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Tirusew urged the trainees that they should focus on the training to possess the desired result in order to support the youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Dr. Yirgashewa Bekele, Director of Special Needs Support Center, said “The training is targeted students of special needs education to empower and encourage them to actively engage in supporting children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.”

According to her the training is also aimed to make them successful in providing autistic kids support services in different schools.

The Director of Special Needs Support Center said “Though we don’t have national and regional based study that indicate the prevalence of the disorder, WHO recent study has shown in every 160 persons, one of them will live with such a disorder.”

“The push factors from many schools and parents of these children has clearly indicated there are many autistic kid learners who attend classes without any considerable support” She added.

“The provision of custody for kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder in Ethiopia is at the embryonic stage. There are only few voluntary organizations built by parents of the kids that provide day care support with some sort of interventions” Yirgashewa said.

Woizero Aida Amare, Founder and President of HOPE For Special Education, said in her part that lack of understanding and knowledge amongst the people are the causes that carry a social stigma towards children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

She also said these children still suffer from the stigma of having been rejected by their equals.

Aida said “There are some activities of expanding care centers at individual level I know but still a lot has to be done including government intervention so as to meet the right demand of satisfaction.”

She said, “The task of expansion needs a lot of resource and large sums of money to run the care centers.”

The founder of HOPE for Special Education told ERPC reporter that the government would welcome the notion of expanding custody centers. “At the government level, I do know their interest in expanding the facilities. They’ve welcomed the idea of help.”

Kashara S.Moore (PhD), Director of Support Services HOPE for Special Education, said increasing awareness in regards to autism i.e. the behaviors associated with autism and reducing the disgrace of autism or stigma are the major objectives of the training.

“Currently we’re providing training for AAU prospective teachers, health care professionals and other interested bodies” She said.

Kashara told ERPC reporter as they continue providing trainings, there comes a clear understanding of the behaviors of autistic youth and how these behaviors can be mitigated or reduced and how they can support families.

“These days, autistic youth are isolated and misunderstood. To my observation, there hasn’t been a government standardized plan on how to support special needs education in the community as a whole” She noted.

Theodros Shewangizaw January 6, 2020