Autistic children as well as children with other special needs in Cameroon have often been relegated to the back door statistically. Like is the dogma across most African societies, many families believe children born with a disability such as Autism are either due to repercussions from a plaque or Divine punishment.
A trained Cameroonian Autistic Teacher, Mbah Emeditte Abei who graduated with distinction from the National Academy Information Systems, in Dubai, has identified the cause of this neglect in Cameroon as being especially the lack of Government action in terms of communication and developed ready facilities to aid in the treatment of this disorder.
There exist many tutors who can help these autistic children exist in Cameroon, but unfortunately can’t as there are no ready establishments developed to train these kids to live their normal lives.
In a one-on-one discussion with Mbah Emeditte Abei, she pointed out that Autism simply is “an impairment in either reasoning or communication” and nothing supernatural like many people believe.
She adds that Autistic children are known to have mental retardation which prevents them from reasoning or behaving like other regular kids. However, as scary as that may sound, the ideal thing to do, she says, is to “Register the autistic child in an Autistic School or better still get an ABA (Applied Behavioural Analysis) Specialist to curb the child’s condition at an early stage.
The common mistake, as pointed out by Mbah Emeditte, is that Autistic Education is being neglected in Cameroon and has forced parents with autistic children to enroll them into schools with regular kids, where they get evaluated on the same basis. This does not help the children as persons with mental impairment are constantly on the disadvantage.
Autism diagnosed at a child’s early age is capable of being treated to enable him/her behave and act normal like their peers.
However, there can be no definitive timeframe which can be confidently stated as to how long can it take to treat an Autistic child, given that there are different levels to autism; Communication Retardation, and Behavioural Retardation
The duration of treatment equally depends on the child’s motivation to speed up his/her process to become like the normal kids around her.
Most autistic children, we are told by Mbah Emeditte, are often blended with other children with physical impairments, thereby not helping the children to develop normally.
“They are joined to carry out the same program with normal children in the name of Inclusive Education. Most often, these autistic children are neglected because the teachers have no time to give them the attention they require of a typical autistic child,” she stated.
“An Autistic Teacher is a behavioral analysis specialist with special qualities other than normal classroom teachers, purposely to handle autistic cases,” she expatiates.
Much like inclusive Education which is equally very important, Mbah Emeditte believes more autistic training centers could go a long way to curb autism and help children diagnosed with it to gain rapid and full inclusion into society.
“I plead with the Cameroon Government to open many training centers to train autistic specialists, as well as schools particularly designed for autistic children, since autistic education is very expensive. With these facilities, the less privileged with autistic cases can fit in without any problem,” she pleads.